Varsity Overturns Expulsion Of Student Over Hug

A female student hugs her male colleague. Credit: @ganobi

 

An Egyptian university has overturned its decision to expel a male student over hugging his female friend on campus, in an incident that sparked controversy in the conservative country.

The young man appeared in a video carrying a bouquet of flowers kneeling before a woman and then hugging her, in what was meant to be a marriage proposal.

The footage was widely circulated online earlier this month and initially prompted the expulsion of both students from their respective universities.

But late Tuesday the Mansoura University in northern Egypt, where the video was shot, reversed its decision to exclude the male student for two years.

The student’s appeal against the expulsion included “his apology for the act committed, a pledge to not repeat it and to commit to the university’s values and ethics,” a university statement said.

It cited the student’s young age, concern for his future and his unfamiliarity with the university’s rules, deciding instead to ban him from taking the semester’s exams.

On Sunday he was interviewed by telephone by a prominent talk show host on channel MBC Masr and said that he had brought the flowers to propose to the woman.

“We were supposed to be engaged but after what happened her parents are refusing this completely,” said the young man, a first-year law student who was identified only by his first name Mahmoud.

A day later, Al-Azhar University in Cairo scrapped the expulsion decision against the young woman who appeared in the video.

The move followed the intervention in her favour of Egypt’s top Muslim cleric, Ahmed al-Tayeb, who is the institution’s grand imam.

Issuing a lesser penalty, the university said the female student would be prevented for taking the first half of her exams.

Al-Azhar is the most prestigious seat of Sunni Islamic learning in Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country which is largely conservative society.

Al-Azhar is touted as standing for Islamic moderation, but critics often accuse the institution of failing to modernise its teachings in order to counter extremism.

AFP

Female Student Expelled From Varsity For Hugging Male Friend

A female student hugs her male colleague. Credit: @ganobi

 

Egypt’s Al-Azhar university on Sunday said it had expelled a female student after she appeared in a video hugging a male colleague, accusing her of undermining the school’s reputation.

The video, which went viral earlier this month, showed a young man carrying a bouquet of flowers kneeling before a young woman and then hugging her in what appeared to be a marriage proposal.

The video was apparently not filmed at Al-Azhar — a branch of Egypt’s highest Sunni Muslim authority — but at another establishment, Mansoura University in the country’s north.

Nevertheless the disciplinary council of the Al-Azhar University campus in Mansoura on Saturday “decided to expel the young girl definitively”, university spokesman Ahmed Zarie told AFP.

He said the video had caused a “public outcry” and that the university’s decision to expel her was because she had presented a “bad image” of Al-Azhar University, which strictly segregates the genders.

He said hugging between unmarried men and women violates “the values and principles of society”.

The woman, however, can appeal the expulsion decision, Zarie said.

The young man who appeared in the video could also face sanctions, a spokesman for Mansoura University said, adding that the school’s disciplinary council will meet on Monday to decide his “punishment”.

Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country, is a largely conservative society.

Last year, prosecutors detained a female singer for four days for “incitement to debauchery” after an online video clip which included sensual oriental dances and suggestive gestures went viral.

And in 2017 another female pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison on similar charges, also over a video deemed provocative. Her sentence was reduced to a year on appeal.

AFP