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Egypt’s ‘TikTok girls’: Jailed as a convenient scapegoat

By Stephanie al-Hakim
Posted on Friday, 3 September 2021 13:10

Mobile phone running the TikTok app in Cairo, Egypt on December 2020. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

Young women 'influencers' from poor backgrounds are being jailed by the Egyptian government for posting videos on TikTok. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi may have muzzled the Muslim Brotherhood, but his electorate and country is still torn between competing forces of modernisation and conservative traditions. Activists claim the Egyptian authorities - keen to burnish their traditionalist credentials -- are using these defenceless women as convenient scapegoats.

In February this year, Haneen Hossam, a 20 year-old Egyptian woman appeared in a video dancing to celebrate her release from prison. She celebrated too soon; six months later she was been jailed for 10 years.