Egyptian student, 19, shot dead by suitor amid surge in Middle Eastern femicide rates

The fatal shooting of a 19-year-old student after she rejected a marriage proposal has provoked significant outrage at the prevalence of femicide in Egypt.

Amani Abdul-Karim al-Gazzar, a physical education student, was shot in the back outside her family home on Saturday after she and her family turned down a marriage proposal by Ahmed Fathy, 29.

Fathy was found dead having used the weapon on himself, Egypt’s interior minister said. Egypt has been at the heart of surging femicide rates around the Middle East, with the majority of high-profile cases involving young women being killed after rejecting a man’s advances.

Earlier in August, Salma Bahjat, 22 was stabbed seventeen times in similar circumstances. In June, Naiyera Ashraf, 21 was murdered after being repeatedly stabbed outside the gates of her university on her way to her final exams. Her murderer, a fellow student, said he had killed her because she had on several occasions turned him down. He was sentenced to death.

Just three days after Ashraf’s killing, another young female student was shot five times outside her campus, this time in Jordan. According to reports, her killer had sent her a message the day before, reading “Tomorrow I am coming to speak to you and if you don’t accept I am going to kill you just like the Egyptian killed that girl today.”

The copycat nature of these incidents has incited fear among women in Egypt. Sexual violence has long been rampant in Egypt, with critics and rights organisations calling for stronger laws on gender-based attacks in the wake of student femicides.

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