University will not expel boy and girl students for hugging on campus

Egyptian universities scrap decision to expel student couple caught hugging during a marriage proposal after the boyfriend apologises for their embrace

  • Male student’s marriage proposal was widely shared on Egyptian social media
  • But couple were accused of undermining the reputation of their universities 
  • Both were initially expelled but will now be able stay on with a lesser penalty 
  • Although she accepted the proposal the girl’s parents now forbid the marriage 

An Egyptian university has overturned its decision to expel a male student for hugging a young woman on campus, in an incident that sparked controversy in the conservative country.

The footage shows a man carrying a bouquet of flowers kneeling in front of the woman, before hugging her in what was meant to be a marriage proposal. 

‘We were supposed to be engaged but after what happened her parents are refusing this completely,’ the first year law student told a talk show host on channel MBC Masr on Sunday.  

These student were initially expelled from Egypt’s Al-Azhar university and Mansoura University, but both institutions have reversed their decisions 

The footage was widely circulated online earlier this month and initially prompted the expulsion of both students from their respective universities. 

But late Tuesday the Mansoura University in northern Egypt, where the video was shot, reversed its decision to exclude the male student, who is identified only by his first name Mahmoud, for two years.


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The student’s appeal against the expulsion included ‘his apology for the act committed, a pledge to not repeat it and to commit to the university’s values and ethics,’ a university statement said.

It decided instead to ban him from taking the semester’s exams, citing the student’s young age, concern for his future and his unfamiliarity with the university’s rules.


The video, which went viral in Egypt, shows a young man in a blue jacket holding a bouquet of flowers and kneeling before the young woman (left). The two are then seen embracing after she appears to accept his proposal (right), but the man later said the girls parents are now refusing to allow the marriage 

A day later, Al-Azhar university in Cairo scrapped the expulsion decision against the young woman who appeared in the video.

The move followed the intervention in her favour of Egypt’s top Muslim cleric, Ahmed al-Tayeb, who is the institution’s grand imam.

Issuing a lesser penalty, the university said the female student would be prevented for taking the first half of her exams. 

The disciplinary council of the university campus had previously said it would ‘expel the young girl definitively’, accusing her of undermining its reputation.

Mansoura University in northern Egypt, where the video was filmed, reversed its decision to expel the young man Mahmoud who is a first year law student 

Al-Azhar mosque in old Cairo, Egypt. The university is Egypt’s oldest and is renowned as one of Sunni Islam’s most prestigious

A spokesman for the university said the video had caused a ‘public outcry’ and that the decision to expel her was because she had presented a ‘bad image’ of Al-Azhar, which strictly segregates the genders.

Hugging between unmarried men and women violates ‘the values and principles of society’, he added. 

Al-Azhar is the most prestigious seat of Sunni Islamic learning in Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country which is largely a conservative society. 

Last year, Egyptian prosecutors detained a female singer for four days for ‘incitement to debauchery’ after an online video clip which included sensual oriental dances and suggestive gestures went viral.

And in 2017 another female pop singer was sentenced to two years in prison on similar charges, also over a video deemed provocative.

Her sentence was reduced to a year on appeal.

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