File Photo: Egyptian grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb speaks in Florence, June 9, 2015 . (AFP)

CAIRO: Egypt’s highest Sunni Muslim authority has said there can be no justification for sexual harassment, in a country where many people often blame women themselves for the widespread problems they face. Al-Azhar blasted all forms of harassment as “a forbidden act and deviant behavior” and said “the one who carries it out is a sinner”.

“Criminalizing sexual harassment must be absolute and free from any condition or context,” a statement released Monday said. “Justifying sexual harassment with the behavior or clothing of the woman is a misunderstanding, for sexual harassment is an assault on the woman and her freedom and dignity,” it said.

Some 60 percent of women in Egypt said they had been victims of some form of sexual harassment during their lifetimes. Three-quarters of men and 84 percent of women polled said that women who “dress provocatively deserve to be harassed”. – AFP