Two students draw controversy after hugging each other inside the campus of the Mansoura University - Screenshot
CAIRO - 15 January 2019: After almost two weeks of controversy and consecutive punishments, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Khaled Abdel Ghaffar promised to interfere to reduce the punishment of a student who hugged a girl inside Mansoura University's campus and was subsequently suspended for two years.
Abdel Ghaffar said he will contact with the head of Dakahlia's Mansoura University and the dean of the university's Faculty of Law which Mahmoud, the freshman student, attends to reduce the punishment levied on the student on Monday.
Although the incident happened in the campus of Mansoura University, the girl was found to be belonging to an Islamic studies college of Al-Azhar University, which had worsened the matter. Al-Azhar is known to be sticking to religious instructions and eastern traditions which prohibit such behavior especially between unmarried couples in public places.
Initially, the girl was academically dismissed from her university, before Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb interfered to reduce the punishment.
On Monday, Tayeb called on the university's disciplinary council to rethink the punishment it earlier imposed on the girl, and to consider her young age. He also demanded the council to care for the future of the student and to prioritize advice and guidance over punishment.
The disciplinary council immediately modified the punishment, and decided to suspend the girl for only one semester. The council did not completely cancel the punishment of the girl, apparently, to prevent similar cases in the future.
The video of the two students hugging each other went viral on social media, and managed to draw wide controversy as such behavior is not familiar in many of the eastern countries, including Egypt. The video showed Mahmoud giving the girl a bunch of flowers and going down on one knee as if he was asking to marry her.
Mahmoud then hugged the girl inside the campus of his university, after she seemed to accept his offer.
“I did not know that the girl and I were filmed…I did not know that this incident will bring me troubles,” Mahmoud told Egypt Today.
Chairman of Al-Azhar University Mohammad al-Maharsawi said in a press statement that what the girl did undermined "the values of Al-Azhar, the community and the university."