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By Raymond Ibrahim – Special for Coptic Solidarity –

A Muslim man berated and beat a Coptic Christian woman because she entered his establishment with her head uncovered during Ramadan in Egypt.

According to the Apr. 27, 2022 Arabic language report, Nevin Sobhi, a 30-year-old married mother, went to her local drugstore to pick up some medication for her young son, who accompanied her.  On entering, she noticed that the head pharmacist, Dr. Ali Abu Sa‘da, was giving her “the evil eye.”  Before long, what was in his eyes reached his tongue: he launched into a loud and “hate-filled tirade” against her for daring to enter his store during Ramadan without any head covering and while wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt.

It should be noted that Ali was aware that Nevin was Christian, and therefore not obligated to observe Ramadan’s rules.  When the Copt told him as much, he responded with a violent slap to her face. When the startled woman responded with shock and anger, he slapped her again—all while her scared, young son was crying.  

Nevin ran outside, “in a state of collapse, crying and incapable of absorbing the shock.”  She contacted her family, and they went to the local police station to report the incident.  There, Nevin received what she called her “third slap.”  According to the Christian woman:

“Inside the police station, I was surprised by attempts and pressure to conciliate. The perpetrator’s lawyer steered the writing of the report [in a manner] that contradicted reality, and they forced me to sign the report which contained statements from the pharmacist’s lawyer without taking my statements. (..)  We were especially shocked to see the report said that “the pharmacist is a friend of the family, who was just bantering and joking around with Mrs. Nevin, because he is close to the family.”

Continued the woman: “I was so shocked; it was as a third slap to me—that such a radical character could emerge victorious, even as I lose my rights as an Egyptian woman!”

Criticism for and even violence against those who do not outwardly conform to the strictures of Ramadan—even if they are non-Muslims and therefore exonerated—is common throughout the Islamic world. 

Some days before this incident, for example, a video surfaced of a woman in hijab yelling at and hitting Coptic girls in a bus for not being properly veiled.   Muslim women have even been known to cut off—sometimes clandestinely other times not so clandestinely—the uncovered hair of Christian women.   

To quote from a report,

Two niqab-wearing women assaulted and forcefully cut the hair of a Christian woman on the metro Sunday, the third such reported incident in two months, raising fears of a growing vigilante movement to punish Egyptian women for not wearing the veil in public….  [T]he assaulters called the Christian woman, who is 28 years old, an “infidel” and pushed her off the train, breaking her arm.

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