Building barriers

Posted on November 26, 2007


***Update: In the interests of clarity I asked around and it transpires that in Egypt, unlike in jurisdictions with which I am more familiar, the Constitution itself does apply to private actors. Article 40 of the Egyptian Constitution states:

All citizens are equal before the law. They have equal public rights and duties without discrimination due to sex, ethnic origin, language, religion or creed.

This, I am told, is interpreted to apply to non-governmental discriminatory acts. I was also told that should someone with the proper standing (I don’t know what it is around here) sue, the place would be shut down in the course of a few months or the policy would be struck down. Go for it, people who care – but make sure you have documentary evidence and pick the right judge.


Someone forwarded the following email to me today:

Plz forward to girls and women you know might be interested


At last a place where Muslim GIRLZ can hang out

Sabaya is a very nice place . .
nice food and drinks . .
no music played . .
entrance is only allowed for females
so it’s is really safe for montaqebat . .

it’s owned by Hanan Tork . . and Ahmad El Sakka’s wife ( Mohammad El So3’ayyar’s daughter ) . .

so . . it’s a cafe and hairdresser . . and also they sell mo7aggabat stuff . . praying carpets . . and gifts :))


Address: 6 Meet 3’amr street . . Midan Safir . . Masr El Gedida.
if u know the street that has Cook Door / McDonald’s / Oriflame /Smiley’s ) . . it’s behind McDonald’s . . when u see McD . . go right. . then left . . Sabaya will be on ur left . . isA

Tel: 2240 2223 – 2240 2229

Advantges of SABAYA café
– You have the freedom of taking your veil/neqab off.
2- Meeting muslim girls who are willing to get closer to Allah.
3- Increasing your ‘so7ba sale7a circle’.
4-Getting the opportuinity of being inspired by real stories by the same girls you meet.
5-You can have parties.
6-Learn how to shun sin…since You won’t be exposed to songs or movies JUST CARTOONS AND RELIGIOUS SHOWS.
7- Get to meet Hanan Turk. heheheheheheheheheheheh
8-Enjoy the feeling that you’r making everything which is not allowed outdoors and Allah won’t be mad at you :D..

P.S. Attending sabaya will be very useful from both the life and religious prespective, since YOu will be helping in changing the wrong perceptions about both Neqabis/ Hegabis that were already inheritied ages ago.

Help in renewing a new age of respectful, effective, lively , happy with their commitment to Islam 🙂 EGYPTIAN LADIES.:)

nOthing is impossible.. May Allah grant us His Mercy and sincerity –
– First please Don’t invite Christian girls , because they aren’t
allowed to the place.. Second inform all your friends that if the number of visitors increased remarkably in the coming year..inshAllah next year they may be able to open a branch in mohandesen or down town ..We ARE IN DIRE NEED OF A PLACE THAT CONTAINS US ‘NEQABIS’ OR ‘HEGABIS’ SO PLEASE THINK BEFORE U GO ANYOTHER CAFE 😉

Out of malice I haven’t edited the grammar or spelling.

I like women-only places – I love the companionship and gossip at women-only hair salons. I was pretty happy when I first heard of the existence of this place – I thought I would go with my female friends and we would drink coffee and bond and get pedicures. Almost all of Egypt is for men only, and I figured it was only fair to have someplace outside private dwellings which was for women only – it’s enjoyable, once in a while. But it’s more than just the issue of the segregation of Egyptian life along gender lines, and class lines…there are religious lines too. That’s new. There isn’t really any public place in Egypt where people can actually be barred simply for being from another faith (unless you count the Azhar – which is fair enough if it’s just the theology school, but it’s also the schools of medicine, engineering….it’s too bad, there’s no better place to study Arabic and the related disciplines).

A friend went to this Sabaya, and she wrote this piece about segregation in general. She thinks it’s great that “they” can have their own space because “we” have our bars and cafes. Muhajabat and munaqabat (known to the right-wing blogosphere as “hijabis” and “niqabis”) are banned from a lot of places – beaches, universities, certain chic restaurants, certain workplaces, broadcasting – and that’s just in Egypt. It’s religious discrimination, and as she correctly pointed out, it doesn’t matter if it’s based on something you chose or not.

So my point is, the whole business stinks. I see no need for them to have made things worse, though. I also take issue with the logistics of having “parties” where there is no music. Will they play games? I mean, it’s a restaurant. There’s already food. And what are these things that won’t make Allah mad when done indoors? Seems like they have precluded all of them already. How can you change outsiders’ perspective on anything when you keep them out? Can it be possible for the location of existing places to depend on the will of God (that’s what isA means)? Mysteries. Will send envoys to check it out.