Alarm on campuses after another female student is murdered

A female physical education student has died after she was shot in the back allegedly after she refused the attacker’s engagement proposal.

This is the third incident in Egypt in recent weeks in which a female university student has been killed for turning down marriage and engagement proposals.

The faculty of physical education at Menoufia University issued a statement on 3 September saying: “We mourn the death of Amani Abdel Karim Al-Jazzar , a third-year student.”

The 19-year-old Al-Jazzar was shot allegedly by 29-year-old Ahmed Fathi Amira, who managed to escape from the scene, according to local media.

On 4 September, the Egyptian police said in a statement that the alleged perpetrator’s body was found after a suicide with the same gun that was used in the crime.

A grainy video of the incident, in front of Al-Jazzar’s family’s house at the Toukh Tanbisha village in Berket Al Sabea city in the Al Minoufiya governorate, has circulated on social media.

In a similar incident, another student, Naiyra Ashraf, was killed by Mohammad Adel at the faculty of arts in Mansoura University, after she refused to marry him, while Salma Mohammad Bahgat was stabbed at the faculty of media after her family refused 22-year-old Islam Mohamed’s marriage proposal.

The Mansoura criminal court sentenced Adel to death on 3 July and called for changes to the law to allow executions to be broadcast live as a deterrent to others, while the Zagazig court will sit over the death of Salma Mohammad Bahgat shortly.

The Observatory of Crimes of Violence against Women in Egypt, affiliated with the Edraak Foundation for Development and Equality, issued a February 2022 report which listed 813 cases of violence against women and girls during 2021, compared with 415 such violent crimes in 2020.

During the year 2021, 296 cases of murder of women and girls of different ages (36.4% of the total cases) were monitored across Egypt along with 78 cases of attempted murders (9.5% of the total cases), making the crimes of murder and attempted murder rank first in crimes of gender-based violence in Egypt with 45.9% of the total cases recorded against women and girls.

This is followed by crimes of sexual harassment, cases of suicide, crimes of beating and rapes.

Measures to counter gender-based violence on campuses

Higher education expert Magdi Tawfik Abdelhamid, a professor at Cairo’s National Research Center, told University World News: “These horrific killing incidents in just a few months send a wake-up call for all the Egyptian academic and research community to cooperate with all concerned organisations for monitoring such crimes accurately, study and analyse them and propose suitable policies for reducing them.”

Besides 28 Anti-Violence against Women units across Egypt’s universities and governorates which offer informative sessions, reporting processes and documentation of incidents of violence against women on campus, Egypt has established eight Safe Women’s Clinics in university hospitals across Egypt, offering comprehensive services for women subjected to violence, including medical services, as well as multisectoral referral to legal and social services, according to a 15 August press news item published by the United Nations Population Fund.

The National Council for Women has also signed protocols with the universities to establish prevention and protection measures on university campuses.

“This killing, along with other reported gender-based violence against women in Egypt, ring alarm bells for everyone concerned to join forces to create measures and policy for establishing a safe environment where gender-based violence is tackled,” Abdelhamid added.

Abdelhamid’s views are in line with a March 2022 report entitled National Efforts to Eliminate Violence Against Women in Egypt and a draft law for combating violence against women.