Drowned migrants ‘deserve to die’ – Egyptian MP

© Reuters; Elhamy Agina / Facebook
An Egyptian member of parliament has claimed the 168 migrants who drowned close to the Mediterranean on September 21 “deserved to die”. Elhamy Agina also blamed the parents of those involved for what happened.

Agina, who earlier this month called on women to accept the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), said parents “should be punished” after a fishing vessel en route to Italy sank off the port city of Rosetta in the Nile Delta with at least 450 people on board.

“The parents of young people who migrate illegally [and] get caught trying to do so or die should be punished…because these young people are reckless and have not found anyone to tell them right from wrong,” Agina said.

“If young people travel behind their parents’ backs or without their permission it is their own fault what happens and they do not deserve sympathy.”

Unsurprisingly, Agina’s comments have been met with a backlash on social media.

Translation: "Does anyone know if Elhamy Agina has any children? Is he a father?"

Translation: "How is Elhamy Agina a member of parliament?"

Translation: "When a member of parliament says this, it means we are not in a country or a jungle, it means we are in a mass grave."

Some 163 people were rescued when the overloaded boat capsized last week but dozens remain missing. Those who perished included Egyptians, Sudanese, Eritreans, a Syrian and an Ethiopian.

Translation: "I was born in 'the mother of the world' (Egypt) and now have become a worthless Egyptian not worthy of life."

According to Egypt’s Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar officials have foiled more than 100 attempts to smuggle migrants across the Mediterranean this year with close to 5,000 people detained trying to depart from Egypt’s north coast.

“If the government, which has eased travel procedures, had been the one who told these young people to flee on that boat and drown then we would immediately hold the government accountable,” Agina added.

Earlier this month he was lambasted on Twitter over his pro-FGM stance, when he suggested it was necessary to “reduce women’s sexual desires” to compensate for “sexually weak men.”