‘Veiled threats’ from Egypt’s nightclub owners
Alarmed at the country’s growing religious tilt, some businesses in Cairo are creating ‘hijab-free’ zones to attract a different clientele, reports Trends.
January 17, 2010 3:34 by Ashraf Khalil
A frequent club patron added: “Club owners have a responsibility to make sure their clients are comfortable. It’s the same as having the music too loud or serving crappy drinks.”
Katatney, who veiled when she was 13, said she once argued about the practice with a male friend, who told her he wished restaurants had “hijabi” and “non-hijabi” sections the same way they have no-smoking sections. “I understand if you’re going there to get drunk or whatever, you don’t want to look at a hijab. I get that,” she said. “It’s not a personal vendetta or anything. It’s just that it would hurt their business. But it’s still none of their business and not their right.”
Several club owners and patrons, when asked about the issue, wondered why someone who takes their religion seriously would even want to enter a nightclub or bar in the first place.
The club manager, speaking on condition of anonymity due to religious sensitivities, put it this way: “I don’t see anything wrong with a veiled woman wanting to have fun. But I do think it’s a little weird for a veiled woman to be wanting to get into a nightclub that doesn’t even open until 10:30 p.m.” But the fact remains that some veiled women do want to enter these places. The manager said she’s fielded “very angry and very offended” calls from veiled women who were denied access at the door of her club.
When the popular band Wust al Balad played recently at the outdoor theater in Al Azhar park, the audience was full of young muhajjabat – some of them dancing. Those same fans probably couldn’t attend the band’s regular performances at After Eight – a downtown Cairo club where several veiled women have reportedly been turned away at the door.