Egyptian Lawyer Nabih El-Wahsh in a screen capture ( Photo: Al-Ahram Online)
A number of Egyptian women MPs on Thursday called on the country's High Council of Media to take action against "irresponsible voices" which demean Egyptian women on TV.
The MPs' statement, which was published on the website of the National Council of Women (NCW), comes days after lawyer Nabih El-Wahsh said on the satellite Al-Assema TV that "it is a patriotic duty to harass and rape women who wear ripped jeans which expose their posterior."
El-Wahsh's statement came during a televised panel discussion last week on laws against sexual harassment.
“Without a doubt, these calls incite deviant behaviour [against women] and are an insult to Egyptian women, who are the backbone of the balanced and enlightened fabric of our society," the MPs' statement read.
The women MPs, who did not publish their individual names on their statement, said that they support the NCW's plan to file a legal complaint to the prosecution against El-Wahsh, accusing the lawyer of inciting sexual harassment and rape.
There are 89 women members in the 596-member Egyptian legislature, one of the highest percentages of female representation in the country's parliament ever.
Earlier this week, MP Evelin Botros slammed El-Wahsh's statements on social media.
“What he said on TV is an irrational call for youth to harass women, this is illegal,” Botros said.
In 2014, the Egyptian penal code criminalized sexual harassment, which has been a widespread phenomenon in the country for a number of years, and stipulated punishments for perpetrators, including jail sentences and fines. The law also punishes those who commit sexual assault with 3-7 years in jail.
In an attempt to backtrackon his comments, El-Wahsh told anchor Wael El-Ebrashi on Dream TV several days later that he did not mean to incite rape against women but rather his comments were meant only as a "warning" against those who wear ripped jeans.
MP Anissa Hassouna also called on the High Council of Media to act against allowing people "like El-Wahsh" to appear on TV to insult women.
On Saturday, the self-proclaimed conservative lawyer stood by his statements on his own TV show With El-Wahsh which appears on the satellite Al-Hadath Al-Youm TV channel.
However, on Sunday, El-Wahsh told anchor Wael El-Ebrashi on Dream TV that he did not mean to incite rape against women but rather his comments were meant only as a "warning" against those who wear ripped jeans.
The Higher Council of Media, the government body tasked with regulating media content and performance, had said on Friday it would review video footage of comments by the lawyer and decide on appropriate course of action.