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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Marwa Rakha broods over Moez Masoud


I met him for the very first time when I was shooting E7na show and I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw; Moez Masoud is a young handsome charismatic man who is blessed by sound logic and common sense. He is nonetheless knowledgeable and passionate about his message. Unlike many other religious figures, Moez is witty, funny, and speaks perfect English. Whether I agreed or disagreed with him, this brilliant role model is definitely worth admiration and respect. As a trainer from the corporate world, I would give him a ten out of ten in presentation skills, attitude, and talent. As a woman who was insulted and humiliated in front of the whole crew, I would take it all back!
Let me start from the start! Moez was our guest on a few episodes and we had strict instructions from the editorial team not to bring up topics related to sex, homosexuality, virginity, dating, or Islamic legislation - “fatwa”. That day Moez came with his friend and avid follower Mohamed Diab – the dude who wrote El Gezira. For an unknown reason Mohamed shouldered the responsibility of looking after the interests and image of Moez. The first episode went well and although Moez relied on his personal charm than on his knowledge to get his message across, I still admired the guy and listened to his arguments with nothing but respect. Then the whole team had to change for the second episode and that was the beginning of the end.
Wardrobe is the responsibility of the stylist and that is directly coordinated with the editorial team and the director. Like everyone else, I went to change and I was handed my outfit - the outfit that put me to shame and disgrace! A pair of beige crop pants and a colorful crochet top underneath a long sleeve crochet black top. Mind you that I am far from busty, sort of skinny, and kind of demure and frail looking. I put on the cursed outfit and walked back to the set where Moez and Mohamed were sitting outside with some members of E7na team. Like a normal girl who has neither inhibitions nor passive aggression, I pulled a chair and joined them. Silence filed the air. Mohamed Diab gave me the “how dare you?” look and Moez offered me a sandwich.
I was still oblivious to the impact of my outfit when I walked back to the room where we were actually shooting. I sat in my place next to everyone else and waited for Moez to come in and start his episode. When that did not happen, I raised my head, looked outside, and saw what seemed like Moez refusing to come in and Diab speaking to one of the big guys. The team was getting restless and one of the editorial guys walked up to me and whispered in my ears “Marwa, can you change?” I said that I could not as my stubborn streak took over and suddenly everyone was looking for a scarf to hide my shoulders and whatever skin that upset Diab/Moez/God!!
A wave of numbness took over followed by a heat flush and an urge to cry. I left the room and ran to the next empty room. I hid my flushed face as I tried to work on my breathing. The editors followed asking me what went wrong and amidst my anger and indignation I howled something along the lines of “I am not coming out ... go ahead and shoot without me!” I was serious! Next thing I knew was Moez himself walking into the room, asking everyone to leave us together (alone), and asking me what was wrong. I asked the pious man sitting in front of me if he were not of afraid of me - the indecent unrespectable me. He kept his cool as he told me that it was not his fault and that being a public figure comes with certain pressures. He said a few things about his image and the problems he could get into because of my outfit. He talked about people and how he could be judged for accepting to shoot with me dressed like that on the same table. He told me that I did not arouse him sexually and asked if that was my skin showing through the crochet work. Moez apologized. He said he did not mean to insult me in any way right after telling me that he did not mean to make me feel like garbage; it was just job casualties so to speak. I am the master of this game; I know how to aim an apology that would sound like a second insult!
For the benefit of the team, I changed my top and went back to that table. I sat across Moez and looked him in the eye as he spoke of how women were sacred and how men forgot that women were more evolved creatures. He went on and on about respecting women, cherishing women, loving women, and remembering how Islam put women on a high pedestal. That was the moment when my receivers shut down one after the other; when I realized that he was just another one of “them”. In marketing terms, women were the segment he chose to target with his product; because of their emotional nature, they would be more receptive to his messages. He would certainly score more points with his soothing words; at a time when his patriarchal counterparts ignored females, here came the man who finally spoke some sense!
I have to admit that he is smart; if the women bought in, the kids would follow, and before you knew it, the men would follow too. Moez even tried to score points with a Christian colleague on the show by always addressing her as the representative of the church in the room and by repeating over and over that all religions are the same – was he thinking of converting her the same way he “cured” the homosexual guy? He was as fake, as pretentious, as superficial, and as gutless as the rest of them – the rest of those who gave in to the pressures of meeting peoples’ expectations and lost their true selves in the process. Moez Masoud allowed Diab to speak on his behalf, allowed the media to dictate his public image, allowed his personal relationships with other religious figures to decide which topics he was willing to address, allowed the gap between who he is and who he should be to grow wider, and allowed himself to judge me based on an outfit! In the middle of the shoot and with his usual smile and wit, Moaz Masoud said “God spare me Marwa Rakha’s evils!” – did he foresee this article coming?!

Campus - April 2008

32 comments:

Raghda Salama said...

Marwa.

Like many others, it seems that Moez Masoud has simply turned into a celebrity (camera, lights, fans, and "bodyguards"). And, as far as I know, this is what celebrities do.

You have no idea how much I admire your courage to publish this article. You have my total support.

Way to go...

marwa_lover! said...

! sorry if its out of the topic...but I have to say it!
u r the most beautiful woman I have ever seen...!
lucky that moez...but stupid too! Cause if I could see you in that outfit u described up or whatever else, I would want to stay looking to that beautiful queen my whole life...love u!

greyscale said...

hey i just bought ur book today..almost done with half of it.

so far so good.

Anonymous said...

Mahmoud
Marwa,
even though I'm not a big fan of TV celebrities,
i must tell you i live in the US and dress code is required for TV anchor man and woman, and by saying that i mean no anchor woman in CBS, NBC or ABC will be allowed to host a show with the outfit you described.
I'm not defending this guy, I dont even know who he is.
however, I think from your description you were trying to be provocative.
best regards.

Marwa Rakha said...

Thank you Raghda:)

He is really a good guy ... I hate what fame did to him

Marwa Rakha said...

emmm ... marwa_lover ... now I am blushing:)

Marwa Rakha said...

Thank you greyscale ... when I frist published that book .. I had two main nightmares:

1) Only my friends would buy it out of pity/support:)

2) No one would buy it at all

The fact that you got it and like it so far makes me very very happy:)

Marwa Rakha said...

Hello Mahmoud:)

The show is about a magazine targeting people between the age of 20 or a bit less to thirty and a bit high.

As I said in the note .. what I wear on the show is directed by a stylist and other people .. I did not want to/ mean to provoke him.

I am not a presenter .. I was part of a team of 10 people and he was out guest on the show.

My problem is not with what he thought of me .. my problem is hypocrisy and dual standards ...

lonely man said...

Marwa , dont be upset...after all this is how he pays for his rent :)
god ! i never beleive those guys anyway.

Masako said...

Hi,

I believe you Marwa that you didn't mean to provoke or wear what you wore but as Mahmoud said, there's a dress code for any TV show- we're speaking world wide not in Egypt only-.. and I assume you a smart woman. Why didn't you tell the stylist that that outfit is not suitable for an episode having a da3ya as a guest.
There's no dual standards here and I'm not defending anyone, I'm just saying what I see rationale..
And for what you wore, I think he's right.. He's the only preacher who is talking about "7eshma" not hijab only.. He asks youth not to judge a girl that doesn't wear hijab and say that she's so and so.. BUT there's a limit of course. I respect you not wearing hijab so please respect me by wearing a suitable outfit when you're recording with me..

At last, I'll ask you a question. Have you watched the last 3 episodes of Dina Abdallah's show " 7abib el-malayyen" with Dr.Abla el-Ka7lawy?
Dina wore "abaya" and covered the majority of her hair.. as a respect for her guest and that she knows that it's more suitable..
By the way, Dina is very "mo7tashima" , she doesn't wear so tight or something.. at least in all of her shows.. And dr. Abla too, nearly all of us call her : Mama Abla.. I think she's not the woman to say a bad word to Dina if she wore her jeans during that episode. And So did Moez, as you mentioned he didn't tell you a bad word, at the contrary he appologised for any misunderstanding that could have happened..

So long .. huh? but it had to be..

Bye

Marwa Rakha said...

Hello Masako

Before I reply to your comment, I have to tell you about the weird feeling I had reading it ... I felt that I know you .. I know you in person .. I felt as though I could see your eyes .. anyway .. it happens:)

I will not argue with the validity of your comment but let me shed some light on the episodes where Moez was our guest. He was not there as a preacher ... he was there as a young person who has knowledge of religion and was supposed to address current issues young people face and go through.

We are not in a mosque or in a religious place and what happened could have happened to any of the other unveiled girls on the show .. it is just my luck with the stylist that day.

Dress codes are a fact ... and the dress code for this show was casual ..

You seem to have enough common sense .. so let me tell you what really upset me:

I liked Moez .. liked him and respected him enough to get upset that much when I saw him falling for the media crap and the public image trap ... I intentionally did not write about what we talked about in private because hurting him or his message is not my aim ...

I just wish he had the guts and the courage to be himself ... to be one of us who happens to be blessed with more knowledge and faith.

His friends and his society could easily be my friends and my society ... so why not be that person .. that lovely person on screen ... when we talked I saw a human being trying to be better so why does he plan on making it worse?

Thanks again Masako for your comment:)

Anonymous said...

هو ممكن الواحد يعلق هنا بالعربي و لا تزعلي؟

:)

تحياتي
اللهو الخفي

Anonymous said...

ليه الموديريشن بقي؟ فين حرية التعبير
ههههههههههههه


اللهو الخفي

Marwa Rakha said...

يا لهو يا خفى .. اظهر و بان و علق باللغة اللى تعجبك:) و الموديريشن ده احتياطات امنية

Anonymous said...

كلك زوق والله

انا كنت علي النت بحاول اعرف اخبار الاضراب في مصر و شوفت مقالك قلت اجي امسي عليكي

بالنسبة للكتابة بالعربي فا دي حاجة انا باعتز بيها عشان دي لغتنا و تاريخنا و اصلنا

ها؟ اخبار الاضراب ايه يا استاذة مروة؟

انتي تقربي لرسام الكاريكتير المعروف الاستاذ رخا؟

تحياتي
اللهو الخفي
:)

Masako said...

Marwa,

You know, I had the same feeling when saw your photo.. as you say, it happens :)

I got your point of view that Moez was not in E7na as a preacher but as a young person who has knowledge of religion ... I DO understand that yet the majority DON'T .. Arabs in general and Egyptians in particular will not see any difference between Moez as a guest in E7na or 90 mins for example and Moez hosting his own show Take a right.. So simple... He's been already classified in their minds as a da3eya and every time he's seen on TV or in a public event, they will treat him, consider him and speak with or about him as a da3ya..this is the never-ever-modifiable image in people's minds.. And I think that Moez is not the guy to show off..his acts = his sayings
So, If he didn't want to appear beside you wearing unfit clothes only for the public image, I think he's right not to lose people. He has a message that he's got to deliver.
And if he didn't want to appear beside you out of his own convictions, he's also right. It doesn't mean that he doesn't respect you.. Sure he DOES respect you and what you decide to wear but also you HAVE to respect him and his decision that your dress is- away form your casual dress code- unfit....

By tha way, it doesn't mean that you were wrong.. :)

A human can't live alone in that world, we are created in a form that urges us to live in communities not in isolated islands. If everyone just stuck to his/her opinion and all are wrong,this world will be unbearable.. believe me Marwa all what had happened doesn't justify writing such an article speacially that you said that hurting him or his message is not your aim...

Again, I'm not defending anybody.. I'm saying what seems rational to me :)
Thanks Marwa :)

Ethar El-Katatney said...

Hello Marwa.

I don't want to clutter up your page, but I'd like you to check out the response I wrote to your post:

http://musingsofamademoiselle.blogspot.com/2008/04/i-brood-over-marwas-brooding-over-moez.html

And having read your book, I'm sure you're a strong advocate of freedom of speech.

sara said...

Hi Marwa,
I was wondering why this whole issue ''really'' upset u so much i mean so what if he told u to change he offered u a sandwich and was pretty nice to u thats what u say in ur own words and why do u consider him a hypocrite? he clearly felt bad that u cried when they told u to change and was only trying to be nice to u and why would a grown girl cry when someone asks her to change? what r u 12? I think its either ur extremely sensitive or it was that time of the month sweety :)Grow up ps. is marwa lover u from a fake account?

Marwa Rakha said...

Hi Sara ... I approved your comment just because I believe in freedom of speech ... nevertheless, I have no reply for you.

sara said...

Thank you for posting it:) like Moez Masoud u seem to be practicing what u preach :) btw i read Ethar's post and i am so happy that she brought us all Moez's side of the story! We could never have formed a proper opinion without hearing both sides. You seem like such a sweet girl but ur just extremely sensitive thats why u overreacted and ive been following Moez Masoud's efforts especially those geared towards the west. Nobody has natively spoken to them in engish so well about females in the quraan, and had u been disinterested and not taken this issue personaly this misunderstanding might never have taken place and u would have seen that Moez Masoud is not only ur best but only ally in the region
ps. I really appreciate u posting my comments ur really sweet :):)

Marwa Rakha said...

:) Sara .. I did identify with Moez .. we are both trying to make our society a better place .. I am doing that by talking about relationships and he is doing that by remindng people of the essence of religion.

That was why I got mad .. he is talking about women and I am one of them .. and my outfit was not provocative and there is nothing showy about my body language .. anyway .. that's that .. and I know that some of those who defended my side of the story are doing it just because they love me and some of those who attacked me did it out of a personal infatuation for Moez.

There are also those who are rational and objective .. and whether they agree with me or not .. I respect them.

I offered Ethar to publish her post in Campus .. and to hyper link her reply to all my notes so whoever reads my side of the story gets to read the other side too.

Waiting for her reply and for an OK from Moez ..

Ethar El-Katatney said...

Hey,

Thanks Marwa for offering to have my post published in Campus, it's very generous of you :) I will send the post as a document to your email.

And of course you have my permission to add a hyperlink to my post wherever you publish your post.

Shimaa Gamal said...

Hello Marwa
Actually neither of you was wrong. You had every right to get pissed off. And he had the right to spare himself the hassle he was about to get into because of SOME closed minded persons who would probably evening balances with him.
He is a marketer, just like all of us. We sell ourselves and our ideologies. He is selling the Islamic life style or the modern Islamic image. Radical Muslims would have attacked him for sitting in the same place with a woman dressed like that. Even those who don’t care about religion would have attacked him on the basis of how come he is supposed to be a good Muslim and he is ok with that. The thing is, he took the easy way. Instead of being up to the challenge he preferred the easy way.
This article is fair and square. As the Egyptian proverb says “elly yel3ab el da7 may2olsh eh *wicked wink*

Anonymous said...

Dear Marwa
Simply call me Pappy, it's the chance send me here. I remembered my 20 years old Lama (daughter). I have tried for the last few years to teach her how to use the brain to evaluate things around her. I like the way you young people discuss and think. And I respect your sensitive feelings, but think of people as they are humans not angels. I saw Moez very infrequently through my daughter, when I saw him I remembered ه Marwan -my son- I hoped that he think like him. Definitely Moez is not for me but very suitable for youngsters. He is trying to impress others by perfection and his dreamy state of idealistic religion. This is good to start but extremely difficult to maintain, and this is the dangerous and scary moments. He gives you a virtual perfect example, if you feel that he is honestly has something to tell take the points fits you but not all are none rule. People make mistakes not because are evil but because they are humans. If at any moment you believe he is pretending, always remember that there a huge gap should be filled between our age and yours. Try to take the best suits you and ignore the rest and don't stand long thinking negatively. I personally enjoy discussing the young people who are enthusiastic for that and I am a big failure to attract who doesn't. God help all of us to sail safely to heaven in such difficult life.

Samuel said...

Dear Marwa,

Almost... just almost, I lost my respect to Moez because of the first paragraph. Reading it my heart felt disappointed, that someone could actually hate Moez.

I lived far away from Egypt, not in US. I'm not Egyptian myself. I came accross Moez in YouTube, I never saw nor spoke to him directly.

Moez is the first person that described Islam in the most beautiful way. Imagine, an MP3 players full of RHCP and Limp Bizkit is now full of the Radio talks I downloaded from his website. I kept listening to them, and completely ditch the songs. I tried getting more source about Islam and Prophet Muhammad SAW.

I was not a 'Muslim', and I'm not now. I had no faith in religion, but only to God. I'm learning about Islam now. Almost.. almost did I lose my respect to Moez. People like me tend to ditch the believe of the people that I don't respect.

I hope I didn't sound judgemental to you. I don't have hate toward you due to your broods over Moez. But I do hope your heart is filled with peace and forgiving now.

fandah said...

May Allah guide us all to the correct path.

Nahla said...

Why Brooding Ya Marwa?

Have you not heard of the actress Athar El Hakim when she refused to shoot a scene with Dina because she was not dressed as she thinks she ought to be dressed!!

In the case of Moez, I think he is entitled to ask that the image of the show that he participates in and you are part of that image. I am sure that being in the business you have heard of interviewees dictating set looks, interviewer questions and compartment. So I don't understand all the brooding and bad publicity you are making for this guy since what he asked for is actually common practice and since people are not allowed in Egypt near most pools in clubs and hotels while wearing clothes or veil, I don't think it's a big deal if you were told that when talking about religion you should at least have conservative clothes on and especially since it seems you started the show with something conservative on which means that you do understand what was expected in the first place. So was it an ambush you had in mind!!

friendly face said...

assalamu 3alaykom ya marwa,
nice to see you on the internet,
I am not intimidated by what you wrote about moez, because what is pure will stay pure no matter what is said about it. I met moez personally one day and i had my son and daughter. I asked him to give my son a lingering word. it was sooooo simple, and i know it will affect my son. These little touches and words sometimes mean the world to children and romantic adults, who you must have been one of. So, no matter how bad you felt, I would have rather you left a bit of the good dream for others to taste.
Sometimes we get so upset with good people because of dire need to believe again, but we want it to be our way. I am not defending moez. God makes people make mistakes so that we do not worship them. And the only mistake i feel he did is that he went to talk to you alone. I saw his beautiful wife's eyes before and i know had i been her, i would have been so upset. he was compassionate, but you were not. you would have been, if .....
you talked about cameras and media and stuff and how they change people,,, don't let them change the sweet compassionate girl i know you are.
Being upset with people for what ever good or bad reason, should never be a cuase for us to turn them into unknowing preys.
See Samuel's response? would you like to have been a cause for him not to believe in a good person or a good religion, no matter what religion he chooses? i am sure you didn't mean to or even think of it. Nobody would like to kill other people's road and pursuit for happiness even if it were different from his own because he/ she was upset.

I am happy to have seen your post and will be a regular friendly face.
I wish you all the luck and blessing in the world.

Islam said...

ما تخفيش بكرة يتخانق على حجم إسمه على التتر و محمد دياب يرفض ظهور مصطفى حسني معاه ، عشان ماقطعوش على بعض

:)

إسلام أمين

Anonymous said...

salamo3aleikom,

I find it brave of you, Marwa, to put that incident out to public. It's also brave of you to return back at that time, heeling quickly from agitation. I admire that ability in you mashaallah.
Also, I'd love to say that I like Moez Masoud for his innovative way of attracting the audience and turning them, one way or the other to his side.

Sarah said...

I agree with Shimaa Gamal on the fact that he just simply took the easy way out. Personally, I think it is slightly offensive that he did not want to come inside, but yet again he came and apologized in person and although you had the right to be upset, you might have over reacted a bit.
No one is right or wrong-- you don't always have to "win" or to be the right person. If you were in his place, you might have done the same thing or you might have reacted differently- you never know- if it's the latter, and you would probably think that you would have definitely reacted in a different way- it is simple as this; it's because you ARE a different person, we humans are not expected to act in the same exact manners nor are we created to take the exact same dicisions in life- otherwise the world would have been boring as hell.
Anyways-- it's always great to be able to have the courage and the freedom to express what you are feeling.

S.

Ma Sultan said...

Thank you,Marwa, for being so courageous to share with us such story. Moez is quite good concerning philosophical issues, but when it comes to Fatwa, he is far away from the basic knowledge required to give Fatwa. Anyways, thanks again for letting us know what happend. You know what, almost all the televengalisrts do only care about their images even if it contradicts the message they are calling for.