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Nawal al-Saadawi, Egyptian women’s rights activist and writer, dies at the age of 89

She is considered the »grandmother of the Egyptian women’s movement«, fought against the patriarchy in the Arab states and against polygamy, against the veiling of women, inequalities in Islamic inheritance law and against genital mutilation among women: the Egyptian women’s rights activist and writer Nawal al-Saadawi is dead. The Egyptian Ministry of Culture announced on Sunday. According to local media reports, she died on Saturday as a result of an unspecified health problem.

Al-Saadawi published around 50 scriptures over the years, which have been translated into 30 languages. Several of her books were banned in Egypt and other Arab countries because they dealt with supposedly taboo subjects like sex, religion and women’s rights. In German, among other things, »I spit on you. Report of a woman at point zero “(1994) and” Fundamentalism against women “(2002) published. She was also traded as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The author and psychologist had also received death threats according to her own statements. Islamists accused her of falling away from the faith. In 1981 she was detained for two months. In 1993 she therefore emigrated to the USA. In 2005 she returned to Egypt.

With the fall of Egypt’s dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2012, the women’s movement also got a boost. At that time, al-Saadawi also repeatedly stood with the young people on Tahrir Square and protested. In an interview with SPIEGEL, she called for secular laws. Religions like Christianity and Islam with their patriarchal structures simply served the purpose of controlling women and exploiting them for the interests of men. “In Islamic countries, the oppression is shown in material things such as the headscarf, in the West it is more of a psychological nature,” said al-Saadawi. Since childhood, she has dreamed of revolting against the regime.

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