A seldom discussed side of political unrest in Egypt is the issue of sexual assaults and rapes at demonstrations in Tahrir Square. Such attacks are perpetrated not only by the Muslim Brotherhood, but also by supporters of the military government. National Public Radio reports that sexual attacks on women are a real danger to women and girls who go to Tahrir Square for demonstrations. Police are openly hostile to women and girls who attempt to report a sexual assault. NPR reported on one women to whom police attempted to administer a “virginity test” across the political spectrum and in law enforcement, the humanity of women is impugned and denigrated.
There is a split in the religious world whether to focus on society or whether to focus on the moral development of the individual or whether one should focus on society at large and programs to address the needs of the people. Across the Arab world has been a series of revolutions that were met with high hopes in the Arab world and in the west. What was forgotten is that the despots of the world did not descend from the skies above.Sadaam Hussein, Bashar Assad and Kim Jong un had millions of accomplices. When a nation overthrows its despots, all too often the people are left face to face with the demon within. Society can not be transformed without a focus on the individual. Normally, religious denominations would step up to the plate for the transformation of the individual. This task has been complicated in the Arab world by religious approaches that transform women and religious minorities into the eternal other, useful only as a scapegoat or a tool of self-gratification. In the west as well, religion is twisted into the tool of a rubber stamp god that validates the desires of the moment.
Who will lead the revolution of the heart, the individual, and the family? What will it take to overthrow the gods we create in our own image? It is these questions that come to mind in Tahrir Square.