In the Shadow of the Brothers

Omayma Abdel-Latif

In September 2007, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt released its fi rst politicalparty platform draft. Among the heavily criticized clauses was one that deniedwomen (and Copts) the right to be head of state. “Duties and responsibilities assumed by the head of state, such as army commanding, are in contradictionwith the socially acceptable roles for women,” the draft stated. In previousBrotherhood documents there was no specifi c mention of the position of headof state; rather, they declared that women were allowed to occupy all postsexcept for al-imama al-kubra, the position of caliph, which is the equivalentof a head of state in modern times. Many were surprised that despite severalprogressive moves the Brotherhood had made in previous years to empowerwomen, it ruled out women’s right to the country’s top position.Although the platform was only a fi rst draft, the Muslim Brotherhood’s banon women in Egypt’s top offi ce revived old, but serious, questions regardingthe Islamist movement’s stand on the place and role of the “Sisters” inside themovement. The Brotherhood earlier had taken an advanced position concerningwomen, as refl ected in its naming of women candidates for parliamentaryand municipal elections in 2000, 2005, and 2007, as well as the growingnumbers of women involved in Brotherhood political activities, such as streetprotests and elections. Although the platform recognizes women as key politicalactors, it was considered a retreat from the movement’s advanced positionin some earlier electoral platforms.

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Filed Under: EgitoEventos & NotíciasDestaqueQuestõesMédio OrienteIrmandade MuçulmanaEstudos & Pesquisas

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