An 18 year old Egyptian teenager in the Nile Delta city of Tala has been stabbed and murdered after defending a teenage girl who was being sexually harassed and beaten on the street. Mahmoud El-Banna, after defending the girl, had posted to Facebook about the incident, stating: “it’s not manly to beat a girl in the street”. He was later ambushed and stabbed on the street, and died of his wounds in the hospital.
The attackers were the same who attacked the teenage girl, a group of three young boys led by a 17 year old named M. Rageh. All three have been arrested and face charges of premeditated murder.
Now being dubbed “the martyr of chivalry”, El-Banna’s funeral is reported to have brought out thousands of people walking next to his coffin, demanding the suspects receive the maximum punishment possible. In a country that has long been criticized for its lack of commitment towards tackling sexual abuse and harassment, Egypt is reeling after this most recent tragic death of a teenage boy who simply stood up for what is right.
مشهد الشهيد محمود البنا. عريس الجنه..
الله يرحمك يمحمود ويغفرلك ويصبر اهلك .وَلاَ تَقْتُلُواْ النَّفْسَ الَّتِي حَرَّمَ اللّهُ إِلاَّ بِالحَقِّ وَمَن قُتِلَ مَظْلُومًا فَقَدْ جَعَلْنَا لِوَلِيِّهِ سُلْطَانًا فَلاَ يُسْرِف فِّي الْقَتْلِ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مَنْصُورًا.#راجح_قاتل pic.twitter.com/fTJXIY2Ob2
— 🌻AyatBalouz (@AyatBalouz) October 10, 2019
According to a 2013 UN survey, 99.3% of Egyptian women have suffered from some form of sexual harassment, one of the highest rates in the world. Only last year as well Reuters reported that Egypt was the worst country in the world to be a woman because of the rampant sexual harassment and assaults that go unchecked.
The most recent case that shook Egypt was in July, when 15 year old Amira Ahmed Rizk stabbed a microbus driver 14 times after he attempted to rape her. Under Egypt’s laws, however, the actual rape must take place in order for any form of self-defence to be considered appropriate. Amira was arrested and detained with adults, igniting a fiery debate within Egyptian society over the treatment of a teenage sexual assault survivor.
Today, however, as the family and friends of the young Mahmoud El-Banna bury his body, it remains to be seen whether or not serious changes will happen within government and society to address the very issue that El-Banna gave his life for. While his actions and statements will forever remain an inspiration, many are now looking towards justice, commitment, and results from the government in tackling sexual harassment cases within Egypt.