CAIRO—This is not the first attempt by a religiously conservative Egyptian legislator to call for all porn sites in the country to be blocked, but it may be the one that succeeds. The minister calling for the ban, Younis Makhioun, is a member of Al-Nour, Egypt's ultra-conservative Islamist party, which currently holds a 25 percent majority block in the People's Assembly.
Makhioun is not advocating censorship but a curtailment of malevolence, saying, "These sites spread evil among different sects of the Egyptian society."
Egypt reportedly ranked fifth in 2011 for Google searches for the word "sex," which may have been one reason why Makhioun and other members of his political party are clamoring for a "blanket ban" on porn. The country has been down this road before.
"In 2009, following a lawsuit that called for a ban on porn sites, the ministry of Communication declined to implement the court's order, citing personal freedoms to choose," reported AfricaReview.com, which said that because of Al-Nour's majority, "the censorship ban could easily take effect this time."
That assumption could be turned on its head, however, if Makhioun's proposal succeeds in widening an already existing division within the country.
"The scale of reaction to the Al-Nour proposal is symptomatic of the cleft which has emerged among Egyptians since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak last year," said The Daily Star, indicating that the proposal has all the ingredients necessary to ignite a fierce internal debate over some very fundamental issues.