The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has contacted its Kuwaiti counterpart to investigate an alleged assault of an Egyptian citizen by five women in Kuwait.
Fatima Aziz posted a video of herself crying on social media last week as she described how she was assaulted while she was out walking with her family and friends. According to Aziz, she called out to stop a Kuwaiti female cyclist whose bicycle was heading towards her friend’s child. The cyclist did not stop, and the child was knocked to the floor, after which the woman got off her bike and was joined by four others who proceeded to shove Aziz to the ground.According to Aziz, after the women realised she was Egyptian, she was severely beaten; her hair was torn out, her finger broken and she was bruised all over from being kicked as she lay on the ground.
Police were called and Aziz reported the assault, adding in the video that she was confident the authorities would help her get justice, but asked for her video reporting the attack to be shared.
“I’ve lived in Kuwait since 2011 and all my work is with women. This has never happened before. I won’t back down with the charges because this is our right as expats,” she said in an interview on Saturday.
Egyptian Minister of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram confirmed this week that her department was working with Kuwaiti authorities who have already arrested several women in connection with the case.
“The dignity of Egyptian citizens and Egyptian women in specific is a red line. However, we respect Kuwaiti authorities and judiciary,” Makram told reporters.
However, she criticised Aziz going public with the story on social media, stressing that Egyptian expats must have more confidence in their country’s embassies.
The case has sparked anger and division on social media, with many Egyptians condemning the assault as racist. Some have also drawn parallels between the Aziz’s story and another incident between a Kuwaiti national and an Egyptian expat last year. In September, a Kuwaiti court sentenced a man to 17 years in prison for attacking an Egyptian worker in the Shuwaikh industrial area. The victim was left comatose after sustaining several head injuries as a result of the assault.
One Egyptian’s angry video rant on Twitter against Kuwait, in which he threatened to assault Kuwaitis in Egypt, was shared by several media outlets after going viral, prompting the Egyptian cybercrime unit to launch an official search for the man.
However some Kuwaitis have expressed disbelief in Aziz’s story, with many criticising the reception in the media, accusing Egyptians of damaging the reputation of the country.
On Sunday Kuwaiti MP Safa Al-Hashem responded to Egyptian Minister Makram on Twitter, calling on her not to interfere in the affair if she respects the sovereignty of Kuwaiti authorities as she had claimed. She also compared the Egyptian response to Aziz’s attack with the case of an Egyptian student who was killed after being assaulted by a gang of girls in the UK, claiming that her death had not warranted the same level of sympathy from the government.