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‘Group of 16’ files case against local journalist for ‘insulting video’

Journalist released a video earlier this month criticising women’s dress and calling for tougher control by family, society

By Rana Husseini - Jul 13,2017 - Last updated at Jul 13,2017

AMMAN — In response to “insulting and derogatory” remarks made by a local journalist against women earlier this month, a group of 16 individuals filed a slander, incitement and defamation case against him in court on Wednesday.

In a 14-minute video clip posted on Facebook on July 3, journalist Mohammad Qadah described some Jordanian women as “milking cows” and claimed that the “way they dressed, by exposing parts of their bodies, encourage prostitution, adultery and rape in the country”.

“The way some women dress in Jordan violates the religion and the values of our conservative society,” he continued in his video clip.

He also said that “ugly women, who look like my shoes, resort to wearing exposed clothes to attract men”.

Qadah also heavily criticised a woman who he claimed was “wearing a tight jeans that showed her bottom as a bomb”.

He went on to describe another woman, who was wearing torn trousers, by saying that “she was walking and her underwear was showing…she might as well go out in underwear”.

Qadah, who was followed by over 40,000 at the time the video was published, added that “we should have religious police [mutaween] like in Saudi Arabia to monitor such women and what they wear.”

Qadah also criticised Jordanian men “for allowing their women to go out with exposed clothes”.

“Fathers and brothers... where is your honour and dignity? You should prevent your female relatives from wearing such clothes and go out to seduce men. The weather is hot already,” Qadah said in the video clip.

Qadah, whose followers increased by almost 6,000 since the video was published, later issued a video in which he said that “he used the wrong terms, but still holds to his opinion regarding women’s styles of dress”.

Qadah hosted a weekly show on the Josat satellite channel, but the owners of the channel decided to suspend his programme indefinitely.

Amani Hammad, an activist, and one of the 16 individuals who filed the lawsuit, said she felt that Qadah was “instigating physical violence and harm against a large sector of women in our society, as well as slandering them and their reputation.”

“My drive to go to court is out of fear for my daughter’s future safety. I want my daughter to be raised in the beautiful Amman I know, where she is exposed to the Arab Jordanian culture and values of tolerance and respect, not in Qandahar [in Afghanistan]!,” Hammad said.

 She added that she was shocked by the “overwhelming support” to this “misogynic narrative”, saying:“If only one per cent of supporters to this narrative take the actions described in the video in the streets, I doubt I would be able to walk safely around Amman. That is why I decided to react.”

Hammad told The Jordan Times that she posted a suggestion to file a lawsuit against Qadah on her Facebook page and “got very positive response from tens of people, from all walks of life and different backgrounds”.

According to Hammad, the office of lawyer Ahmad Matalqa decided to take the case pro bono.

Executive director at Tamkeen Fields for Aid, Linda Al Kalash, part of the group of 16, said she considered what Qadah said in his video clip “was encouraging incitement and hatred against Jordanian woman”.

“We believe that filing a lawsuit was the only way to get justice, because what he did was dangerous and strange,” Kalash told The Jordan Times.

Kalash added: “We also want to send a message to our society that we stand with freedom of expression, as long as it is in accordance with the law.”  

Columnist Basel Rafayeh said Qadah’s video content “reflects an old cultural crisis towards women and their freedom, and shows a big division in Jordanian society regarding general freedoms, including women’s dress”.

“The radical religious groups with takfiri ideologies in Jordan have imposed new kinds of religious clothes, mainly Afghani and Pakistani, as well as niqab or burka, that did not exist in Jordan before the 1990s. The video content was trying to express all this,” Rafayeh told The Jordan Times. 

What is worse, Rafayeh added, is that the video content was trying to “justify acts of sexual harassment against women based on what they wear and cursed men who allow women to wear such clothes”.

“He was using shallow dialogue that drew a lot of support in the Jordanian street, as well as the Islamic and conservative groups, although there was a small objection on the way he did it,” Rafayeh explained.

He praised the “liberals and civil society activists who responded to his video via social media”, adding that “taking legal action was an important civil step so that the issue would not take a different level or escalate in the Jordanian street”.

Hammad said Court of First Instance Prosecutor Raba’a Kilani had accepted the group’s request to register a case and is currently hearing the testimonies of the group before taking any further action.


A senior government official had told The Jordan Times recently that “any action taken against Qadah will be handled by the Cyber Crime Unit, and the unit was following up on the issue and studying it legally”.

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