Egypt Teacher Sacked, Divorced Over Belly-Dancing Video. Case Triggers Women’s Rights Debate

Egypt Teacher Sacked, Divorced Over Belly-Dancing Video. Case Triggers Women’s Rights Debate

New Delhi: A teacher in Egypt was sacked, and her husband divorced her at once, after a video of her belly dancing was circulated on social media.

The incident has sparked a national debate in the country, with those supporting her saying she did nothing wrong and those against her questioning her “values”, a BBC report said.

According to the report, Aya Yousef was with her colleagues on a boat on the Nile when she was dancing, and one of them clicked a video.

The teacher has alleged that the colleague filmed her without permission.

The video shows Yousef, wearing a headscarf and long-sleeved dress, moving to music in the presence of male teaching staff, the report said.

It is said belly-dancing dates back to Pharaonic times, but women dancing in public is frowned upon in present-day Egypt.

“Ten minutes on the boat in the Nile cost me my life,” Yousef was quoted as saying.

The report also said she has contemplated taking her life after she was sacked and divorced.

The Egyptian Conservatives have not taken the video well and severely criticised her. One Twitter user commented: “It clearly expresses the poor times we live in!! Anything is permitted.”

Another person said: “Education has reached a low level in Egypt.”

Yousef, however, told journalists that she did not dance at a public function or in front of her students, the BBC report said.

According to the report, Joseph worked at the Dakahlia Governorate in the Nile Delta, where she taught Arabic.

Women’s rights activists in Egypt have come forward in her support after she was sacked from her job. They insist the teacher is a victim of a witch hunt. Other women have shared their dancing pictures to support Yousef.

The BBC report said Egyptian Centre for Women’s Rights head Dr Nihad Abu Qumsan offered her a job, and also asked her to bring her education ministry contract so a legal complaint could be filed against her dismissal.

According to the report, this may have triggered a rethink on part of the local authorities who have now appointed Yousef at a new school.

She has said filming her without permission and sharing the video on social media was a transgression of her privacy, and that she is planning to sue the person responsible for it, the report said.

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