"Anti-Christianism" TV

Maria-TV is a new Egyptian television station, all of whose employees are women.  Though it’s getting attention in the West because all of its broadcasters wear the niqab, the total covering except for a slit for the eyes, the purpose of the station is to battle Christianity.  (The crusade for all Egyptian women to wear niqab, which the pre-revolutionary secular regime discouraged, itself targets women who are Coptic Christians, whose, of course, reject the veil, making them easily identified.)  This story includes a new word that, unfortunately, may get more and more currency:  “Anti-Christianism.”

Maria TV’s owner, Ahmed Abdallah, is a prominent Salafist preacher, well known in Egypt for his anti-Christian rhetoric. Abdallah and his son Islam, the channel’s chief executive, were arrested last month for burning a Bible during a protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11.

And while the women who work for Maria TV said they want to promote their belief that all Egyptian women should be covered, the channel also serves as a vehicle for what the chief executive said was an effort to dim the influence of Christianity in the Muslim-majority region. . . .

The all-female Maria TV launched July 19, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, broadcasting for four hours each day using al-Ummah’s satellite frequency. The channel takes its name from Maria al-Qibtiyya, an enslaved Coptic Christian from Egypt who became one of the wives of the prophet Muhammad. The name represents “transferring from slavery to freedom, from Christianity to Islam,” the chief executive said. . . .

The women at the channel say they find it ironic that the niqab is often seen as a symbol of oppression. “My freedom is Islam, my freedom to talk from my niqab, work in my niqab, go to university in my niqab,” the manager said. “So I am trying to bring across the idea that every human has a right to live and choose the lifestyle they find appropriate.”

During the interview, Islam Ahmed Abdallah stood up to answer a cellphone that had been ringing inside a plastic bag. After switching it off, he explained that it belonged to a former Coptic Christian his team had recently converted to Islam. New converts are not allowed to use technological devices during their first three months as Muslims, to prevent relatives or other loved ones from trying to make them reconsider, he said.

Makram-Ebeid, the Coptic woman who served in parliament, said some of her fellow Christians are terrified by what they see as a “wave of anti-Christianism.”

via Egypt’s Maria TV pitches strict vision of Islam – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    “My freedom is Islam, my freedom to talk from my niqab, work in my niqab, go to university in my niqab,” the manager said. “So I am trying to bring across the idea that every human has a right to live and choose the lifestyle they find appropriate.”

    In what universe does the promotion of mandatory wearing of the niqab square with this statement? Sheesh! One gets the sense that these folks don’t do “freedom” all that well.

  • Pete

    “My freedom is Islam, my freedom to talk from my niqab, work in my niqab, go to university in my niqab,” the manager said. “So I am trying to bring across the idea that every human has a right to live and choose the lifestyle they find appropriate.”

    In what universe does the promotion of mandatory wearing of the niqab square with this statement? Sheesh! One gets the sense that these folks don’t do “freedom” all that well.

  • Mary

    Ah, yes, the Arab Spring. You can see the signs of new life springing up everywhere.

  • Mary

    Ah, yes, the Arab Spring. You can see the signs of new life springing up everywhere.

  • Michael B.

    “The women at the channel say they find it ironic that the niqab is often seen as a symbol of oppression. “My freedom is Islam, my freedom to talk from my niqab, work in my niqab, go to university in my niqab,” the manager said.”

    At first glance, this appears to be some sort of fundamentalist Islamic propaganda. There are actually women who actually want this kind of treatment? And yet it’s true. And I find it very difficult to accept. How does one explain this? Is it like some variant of Stockholm Syndrome? Is it a lack of education or brainwashing? And yet, it’s not just found in Islam. During the suffrage movement in the US, one could easily found many women who actually opposed to right to vote. The same goes for today for women who oppose reproductive rights. I think the temptation is for people to say, “Oh, they must by lying or being forced”. But this is clearly not the case.

  • Michael B.

    “The women at the channel say they find it ironic that the niqab is often seen as a symbol of oppression. “My freedom is Islam, my freedom to talk from my niqab, work in my niqab, go to university in my niqab,” the manager said.”

    At first glance, this appears to be some sort of fundamentalist Islamic propaganda. There are actually women who actually want this kind of treatment? And yet it’s true. And I find it very difficult to accept. How does one explain this? Is it like some variant of Stockholm Syndrome? Is it a lack of education or brainwashing? And yet, it’s not just found in Islam. During the suffrage movement in the US, one could easily found many women who actually opposed to right to vote. The same goes for today for women who oppose reproductive rights. I think the temptation is for people to say, “Oh, they must by lying or being forced”. But this is clearly not the case.

  • steve

    My freedom is wearing all black in one of the hottest regions of the world… My freedom is wearing clothing designed to make me invisible in a country with some of the worst driving in the world… My freedom doesn’t make sense but that doesn’t stop me from trying to make my freedom a requirement for everyone.

  • steve

    My freedom is wearing all black in one of the hottest regions of the world… My freedom is wearing clothing designed to make me invisible in a country with some of the worst driving in the world… My freedom doesn’t make sense but that doesn’t stop me from trying to make my freedom a requirement for everyone.

  • fws

    Why doesnt the majority have the right to just say no to the libertines who oppose common morality, like those religious who want gays to be able to marry.

    Muslim countries have covered their women this way to curb lust among the men and believe that this is Gods will, Cant that be argued as a legitimate public good? It is over a 1000 years of tradition.

    and the minority who doesnt like that? tell me how it really does them harm to be made to wear the veil.

  • fws

    Why doesnt the majority have the right to just say no to the libertines who oppose common morality, like those religious who want gays to be able to marry.

    Muslim countries have covered their women this way to curb lust among the men and believe that this is Gods will, Cant that be argued as a legitimate public good? It is over a 1000 years of tradition.

    and the minority who doesnt like that? tell me how it really does them harm to be made to wear the veil.

  • fws

    how does it harm anyone for the majority to insist on traditional family values that are obviously designed to protect society from lust and libertinism?

    What would it hurt to make that very very small minority of christian women conform to societies norms like conservative christians here insist on doing with marriage of homos and polygamists?

    Doesnt the majority have the right to dictate to minorities like religious minorities in the ELCA and PCUSA and Episcopalians and UCC who support marriage for gays as a principle of their religion? what is wrong with having the government insist on traditional moral norms?

  • fws

    how does it harm anyone for the majority to insist on traditional family values that are obviously designed to protect society from lust and libertinism?

    What would it hurt to make that very very small minority of christian women conform to societies norms like conservative christians here insist on doing with marriage of homos and polygamists?

    Doesnt the majority have the right to dictate to minorities like religious minorities in the ELCA and PCUSA and Episcopalians and UCC who support marriage for gays as a principle of their religion? what is wrong with having the government insist on traditional moral norms?

  • steve

    I wonder what would be the message of an all-female Egyptian television station that had a female owner and CEO.

  • steve

    I wonder what would be the message of an all-female Egyptian television station that had a female owner and CEO.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Wow, a television station dedicated to the covering of women…

    Might give The View a run for its money…

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    Wow, a television station dedicated to the covering of women…

    Might give The View a run for its money…

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Was WaPo bought out by the Onion?

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Was WaPo bought out by the Onion?

  • helen

    fws @ 5
    Muslim countries have covered their women this way to curb lust among the men and believe that this is Gods will, Cant that be argued as a legitimate public good? It is over a 1000 years of tradition.

    Child marriage (little girls to old men) is also a 1000 year “tradition” there. :(
    Doesn’t seem to have worked since they can create a mob frenzy out of an accidental display of an ankle!!!
    Why not expect men to grow up and develop self control?

    [Which is NOT to say I approve of some of the "state of undress" of girls on the street here!]

  • helen

    fws @ 5
    Muslim countries have covered their women this way to curb lust among the men and believe that this is Gods will, Cant that be argued as a legitimate public good? It is over a 1000 years of tradition.

    Child marriage (little girls to old men) is also a 1000 year “tradition” there. :(
    Doesn’t seem to have worked since they can create a mob frenzy out of an accidental display of an ankle!!!
    Why not expect men to grow up and develop self control?

    [Which is NOT to say I approve of some of the "state of undress" of girls on the street here!]

  • Julian

    Was fws bought out by The Onion?

  • Julian

    Was fws bought out by The Onion?

  • fws

    Julian @ 11

    Yeah. Both me and Focus on the Family were bought out by the onion. The comedic value and price were right.

    We will all need to be responding to such stuff here in our own society alot sooner than we thing. The arguments we make to justify our imposition of our cultural norms on others should be done rather carefully with an eye to those opposing us using the same arguments later on. Against us.

  • fws

    Julian @ 11

    Yeah. Both me and Focus on the Family were bought out by the onion. The comedic value and price were right.

    We will all need to be responding to such stuff here in our own society alot sooner than we thing. The arguments we make to justify our imposition of our cultural norms on others should be done rather carefully with an eye to those opposing us using the same arguments later on. Against us.

  • brianh

    Our enemies would turn on each other if we worked it right.

  • brianh

    Our enemies would turn on each other if we worked it right.

  • Lou G.

    fws @12 — I actually agree with you on this very sincerely. May we as a country get greater discernment sooner than later!

  • Lou G.

    fws @12 — I actually agree with you on this very sincerely. May we as a country get greater discernment sooner than later!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    LouG @ 14, Frank @ 12 – absolutely!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    LouG @ 14, Frank @ 12 – absolutely!

  • Mr. J

    This isn’t about the article, just a quick point to fws @ 5: “Muslim countries have covered their women this way to curb lust among the men and believe that this is Gods will, Cant that be argued as a legitimate public good?”
    It is not a woman’s job to control your lust, it is Your job to control your lust.
    Should women dress modestly? Yes. 1 Tim 2:9 flat-out says it. However, women aren’t instructed to dress modestly for men’s benefit. These verses in particular make clear that a one’s focus should be on God and a godly life, not on self-centered beauty or trying to attract male attention. The encouragement to dress simply is for one’s own benefit, to help maintain focus – not for yours, to help control your lusts.
    I realize that we’re talking about Muslims here, but this sort of comment comes up in plenty of conversations about US culture and Christianity, most obviously in discussions of rape, and I just wanted to point out why this sort of thinking is so problematic.

  • Mr. J

    This isn’t about the article, just a quick point to fws @ 5: “Muslim countries have covered their women this way to curb lust among the men and believe that this is Gods will, Cant that be argued as a legitimate public good?”
    It is not a woman’s job to control your lust, it is Your job to control your lust.
    Should women dress modestly? Yes. 1 Tim 2:9 flat-out says it. However, women aren’t instructed to dress modestly for men’s benefit. These verses in particular make clear that a one’s focus should be on God and a godly life, not on self-centered beauty or trying to attract male attention. The encouragement to dress simply is for one’s own benefit, to help maintain focus – not for yours, to help control your lusts.
    I realize that we’re talking about Muslims here, but this sort of comment comes up in plenty of conversations about US culture and Christianity, most obviously in discussions of rape, and I just wanted to point out why this sort of thinking is so problematic.


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