Cairo female café off-limits to Christian girls

Owned by veiled actress Hanan Turk


An Egyptian actress has stirred anger, especially among Egyptian Copts, for opening a posh café for women that is off-limits to unveiled or Christian ladies.

Several Egyptian Internet forums and chat rooms have launched a campaign against actress Hanan Turk, accusing her of damaging the country’s national unity and supporting claims of mistreatment by the Christian minority, Kuwaiti daily, al-Nihar reported on Tuesday.

Some blogs are calling for protests in front of the “Girls’ Café” located in the Heliopolis neighborhood, east of the Egyptian capital. Anti-hijab websites and blogs also took the chance to assert their claim that the "so-called Islamic dress code is a sort of business".

One of the blogs accused Turk of stirring sectarian strife and emphasizing the gap among the poor and rich in the biggest Arab country, in a reference to the skyrocketing prices of clothes and accessories of veiled women.

Turk has campaigned for her café in a group e-mail, a copy of which was received by an Egyptian journalist with the daily Rozalyoussef.

The e-mail says: “Now there is a café where Muslim girls and women can go out. Girls’ Café is a beautiful place where you can find food, drinks but no music or movies. It is not allowed for women without hijab to come in, so it is a safe place for “munaqqabat” (Arabic word for completely covered women). In Girls Café, you have a chance to meet Hanan Turk! Please, do not bring Christian girls along as they are not allowed!”

The Rozalyoussef journalist went to the Café, where she found out it was one of a veiled-only chain of stores selling highly expensive veil materials and accessories. The place also arranges fashion shows every Sunday and Wednesday, only for the veiled.

(Translated from the Arabic by Khaled Mamdouh).