Amr Emam is a Cairo-based journalist. He has contributed to the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and the UN news site IRIN.

  • Egypt’s first woman culture minister unbowed by Salafists’ hostility, On: Sun, 21 Jan 2018

  • As Egypt and Eritrea come together, Sudan and Ethiopia wary of neighbours’ intent, On: Sun, 21 Jan 2018

  • Egypt prepares for return of Russian tourists, On: Sun, 21 Jan 2018

  • Egypt takes measures to offset side effects of economic reforms, On: Sun, 14 Jan 2018

  • Egypt looks ahead to presidential election but little doubt about outcome, On: Sun, 14 Jan 2018

  • In Egypt, public joins fight against terrorism, On: Sun, 07 Jan 2018

  • Security concerns in Cairo over joint Turkish-Qatari moves in Sudan, On: Sun, 07 Jan 2018

  • Egypt to bet on tourism, energy sectors in 2018, On: Sun, 24 Dec 2017

  • Putin-Sisi talks bring about nuclear, military deals, On: Sun, 17 Dec 2017

  • Airspace deal with Egypt brings Russia closer to Libya battlefield, On: Sun, 10 Dec 2017

  • Egypt plans to become an international equestrian hub , On: Sun, 10 Dec 2017

  • Egypt’s sunken relics help tourism sector, On: Sun, 10 Dec 2017

  • Egyptians shocked, defiant after Sinai mosque attack, On: Sun, 03 Dec 2017

  • As Egypt enters election season, calls grow for political parties to unite, On: Sun, 03 Dec 2017

  • Checking Turkey’s Mediterranean influence motivates Egypt as it moves closer to Greece, Cyprus, On: Sun, 26 Nov 2017

  • After mosque attack, Sinai more dangerous than ever, On: Sun, 26 Nov 2017

  • Egypt opens Middle East’s largest fish farm as it seeks food self-sufficiency, On: Sun, 26 Nov 2017

  • Egypt seeks to ease regional tensions, On: Sun, 19 Nov 2017

  • Consumption down in Egypt but high commodity prices remain a problem, On: Sun, 19 Nov 2017

  • After pope’s blessing, Egypt looks to Christian religious tourism, On: Sun, 19 Nov 2017

  • Egypt’s cinemas face uncertain future amid closures, On: Sun, 12 Nov 2017

  • Egypt’s major security shake-up acknowledges counter-terror failures, On: Sun, 05 Nov 2017

  • Deadly Giza ambush raises questions about Egypt’s counterterrorism strategy, On: Sun, 29 Oct 2017

  • Egyptian opposition expresses fears over state of emergency renewal , On: Sun, 22 Oct 2017

  • Egypt’s human rights battle with Qatar, On: Sun, 15 Oct 2017

  • Economic realities see southern Egyptian workers return home, On: Sun, 15 Oct 2017

  • Era of political Islam is over, say ex-Brotherhood figures, On: Sun, 08 Oct 2017

  • Sisi visit highlights strong ties between Egypt and UAE , On: Sun, 01 Oct 2017

  • Hamas-Fatah reconciliation process shows growing Egyptian influence in region, On: Sun, 24 Sep 2017

  • Amr Moussa’s memoirs make waves across the Middle East, On: Sun, 24 Sep 2017

  • Egypt’s commodity price rise overshadows start of academic year, On: Sun, 24 Sep 2017

  • Egypt carpet-making village is an unusual tourist attraction, On: Sun, 24 Sep 2017

  • Hamas’s shift to Tehran rings alarms in Cairo , On: Sun, 10 Sep 2017

  • Proposal to extend Egyptian presidential term raises questions , On: Sun, 27 Aug 2017

  • In African tour, Sisi seeks to rebuild ties, address security and water concerns , On: Sun, 20 Aug 2017

  • In Egypt, Syrian refugees recreate Syria , On: Sun, 20 Aug 2017

  • After Alexandria crash, Egypt’s railways badly in need of repairs, On: Sun, 20 Aug 2017

  • Wary Egyptians start preparing for 2018 presidential elections, On: Sun, 13 Aug 2017

  • Egypt struggles to curb rampant population growth, On: Sun, 13 Aug 2017

  • Egypt’s first woman culture minister unbowed by Salafists’ hostility

    Abdel-Dayem said she would not be intimidated by the Salafists and would go ahead with her plan to reform Egypt’s cultural scene.

    Challenges ahead. Egypt’s Minister of Culture Ines Abdel-Dayem (C-L) pays tribute to her predecessor Hilmy al-Namnam (C-R) during a ceremony at the Ministry of Culture in Cairo, on January 18. (Ministry of Culture)


    2018/01/21 Issue: 140 Page: 1



    Cairo- The appointment of Ines Abdel-Dayem as Egypt’s minister of culture in a cabinet reshuffle was warmly welcomed by many Egyptians but the appoint­ment of the first female to the post was criticised by the coun­try’s ultra-orthodox Salafists, who questioned her ability to safeguard Egypt’s culture.

    Abdel-Dayem, 58, a professional flute player, was appointed culture minister on January 14 in a minor cabinet reshuffle that included the tourism, local administration and public enterprise sector portfolios. In 2012 she became the second woman to head the Egyptian Op­era House.

    Abdel-Dayem received a doctor­ate from the Ecole Normale de Mu­sique de Paris and has been the re­cipient of numerous international awards. She has toured Europe and the Middle East as a professional musician.

    “Apart from being a woman, Abdel-Dayem is far from qualified to lead an important ministry like this,” said Sameh Abdel Hamid, a Salafist preacher who is lead­ing the opposition to her appoint­ment. “How can a professional flute player lead this country’s as­pired march towards cultural en­lightenment?”

    Salafists are generally opposed to the presence of women in lead­ership positions.

    Abdel-Dayem said she would not be intimidated by the Salafists and would go ahead with her plan to reform Egypt’s cultural scene.

    “I was confident that they would oppose my appointment as culture minister,” Abdel-Dayem said, “but I will never ever allow these people to spoil my joy and the progress my country makes in the empower­ment of its women.”

    Abdel-Dayem was nominated for the culture portfolio in 2013 but a few hours before the swearing-in ceremony was to take place, the prime minister called her and told her that she would not be appoint­ed due to opposition from al-Nour Party, the largest Salafist political party in Egypt.

    “I was deeply disappointed,” Abdel-Dayem said, “but I will not allow them to do the same this time and will formulate a compre­hensive strategy for Egypt’s cul­tural reawakening, one that eradi­cates extremism and this outdated thinking.”

    There are four other female min­isters in Egypt’s cabinet and 15% of the members of parliament are women.

    Egypt’s Salafist movements have millions of followers. In addition to opposing women taking positions of leadership, Salafists are opposed to the presence of non-Muslims in leadership posts. In 2012, Salafists staged mass protests against the appointment of a Christian as gov­ernor of the southern province of Luxor.

    The National Council for Wom­en, a women’s rights organisation, said it would stand up for Abdel- Dayem and other women facing opposition from Salafists.

    “Our country is moving forward and nobody can hold it back,” said council President Maya Morsi. “These people [the Salafists] can­not impose their outdated think­ing on us.”

    Editors' Picks

    The Arab Weekly Newspaper reaches Western & Arabic audience that are influential as well as being affluent.

    From Europe to the Middle East,and North America, The Arab Weekly talks to opinion formers and influential figures, providing insight and comment on national, international and regional news through the focus of Arabic countries and community.

    Published by Al Arab Publishing House

    Publisher and Group Executive Editor: Haitham El-Zobaidi, PhD

    Editor-in-Chief: Oussama Romdhani

    Managing Editor: Iman Zayat

    Deputy Managing Editor and Online Editor: Mamoon Alabbasi

    Senior Editor: John Hendel

    Chief Copy Editor: Richard Pretorius

    Copy Editor: Stephen Quillen

    Analysis Section Editor: Ed Blanche

    East/West Section Editor: Mark Habeeb

    Gulf Section Editor: Mohammed Alkhereiji

    Society and Travel Sections Editor: Samar Kadi

    Syria and Lebanon Sections Editor: Simon Speakman Cordall

    Contributing Editor: Rashmee Roshan Lall

    Senior Correspondents: Mahmud el-Shafey (London) & Lamine Ghanmi (Tunis)

    Regular Columnists

    Claude Salhani

    Yavuz Baydar

    Correspondents

    Saad Guerraoui (Casablanca)

    Dunia El-Zobaidi (London)

    Roua Khlifi (Tunis)

    Thomas Seibert (Washington)

    Chief Designer: Marwen Hmedi

    Designers

    Ibrahim Ben Bechir

    Hanen Jebali

    Published by Al Arab Publishing House

    Contact editor at:editor@thearabweekly.com

    Subscription & Advertising: Ads@alarab.co.uk

    Tel 020 3667 7249

    Mohamed Al Mufti

    Marketing & Advertising Manager

    Tel (Main) +44 20 6702 3999

    Direct: +44 20 8742 9262

    www.alarab.co.uk

    Al Arab Publishing House

    Kensington Centre

    177-179 Hammersmith Road

    London W6 8BS , UK

    Tel: (+44) 20 7602 3999

    Fax: (+44) 20 7602 8778

    Follow Us
    © The Arab Weekly, All rights reserved