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MB Female Members and Political Action…Obstacles, Restrictions
MB Female Members and Political Action…Obstacles, Restrictions
The Sisters Section (women’s sections) in the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is facing many defects and weaknesses, the most prominent of which is the weakness of the political participation of MB female members and lacking female political leaders that may exercise public work and political work professionally and proficiently. Women are still lagging behind men even in this field .
Saturday, July 28,2007 12:58

The Sisters Section (women"s sections) in the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) is facing many defects and weaknesses, the most prominent of which is the weakness of the political participation of MB female members and lacking female political leaders that may exercise public work and political work professionally and proficiently. Women are still lagging behind men even in this field .


Ikhwanweb offers this report about the weakness of political participation among Muslim Brotherhood female members.


Current  Political Participants Are Futile, Unproductive


First of all, Dr. Manal Abul Hassan, a  media professor a Cairo University and a female leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, says about obstacles preventing women from effectively participating in the political work:" there are so many obstacles, including social values, political regime, the media, individual culture, and the unclear political concepts ."


Regarding the social values, Dr. Manal says:" The social values are the most effective. This is due to the fact that these values are inherited and deep rooted for a very long period of time. The Egyptian society is strongly curbing women"s role. Its view towards girls, teens and women in general is not an integrated look at all. This view includes not allowing women to work in more than one field at the same time, although woman should, while doing its duty as a house wife, have and carry a message, and to participate in the society as a whole. On the individual level, woman should change their culture and way of thinking. Political participation doesn"t necessarily mean taking part in elections or going to ballot boxes. She can raise her children on taking responsibility and expressing their views and that she becomes, even if she is inside her house, an effective productive character who can, in a way or another, affect the society from the political viewpoint.


As for the political obstacles facing women in general, and the Muslim woman in particular, Manal Abul Hassan said:" This is a very complicated problem. This is because the political regime is corrupted and can"t spawn any kind of democracy. This can be proved in many incidents, the most prominent of which are 2005 People"s Assembly elections and 2007 Shura Council elections that witnesses scandalous riggings.


Abul Hassan added to Ikhwanweb that the absence of democracy is flagrantly demonstrated even inside the National Democratic Party (NDP) and among NDP members who don"t exercise democracy among each other.


The absence of democracy is definitely a very effective factor. It demolished people"s trust in participating in the political action. The target of any one participating in the political process is to garner a seat in parliament, knowing for sure that he will be a puppet in the hands of the government. 


Abul Hassan said:" this is the view point of those involved in the political arena regarding the political participation, let alone the view of those sidelined from this arena. We see security harassments against candidates, election fraud committed even by some judges, and rigging election results even after making them public. Current  political participants are futile and unproductive", according to her.


Asked about the reasons for the weak political participation among MB female members, as we a few number of female leaders in the political work, She said:" There are three main reasons: First: The government and regime that deals harshly with all opposition parties in general. The treatment becomes even tougher when this opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood group. Second: The increasing security harassments. Third: the MB group is itself blamed in a way or another for the weak political participation of MB female members.


Our society View Towards Women Still Unclear


For her part, Gihan Al Halafawi, a Muslim Brotherhood candidate in 2000 legislative elections and MB female leader, said:


The obstacles female Muslims face in general include women"s commitment to Sharia tenets (not an obstacle but a belief that may restrict their movement). This is because they are obliged to deal with many men and get out for so much time in a way that may affect their priorities, specially when they have toddlers or school pupils. There is also women"s ability to directly exercise the political action, requiring a huge efforts. Add to this our society "s still-unclear view towards women. All these factors curb women"s opportunities to have their leaders. Every society consists of women and men. When women have a political participation, this adds to their weight regarding women-related issues.


Asked why there is a few number of female Muslim leaders in the Egyptian political action, Fatma Fadl, a woman leader, said:" This definitely a serious defect for which blamed both women and the society. Women should be trained to help them get involved in the political arena. If helped to participate in the political process (rarely happens), Egyptian women are not qualified for this political participation.


Asked about the obstacles preventing truly Muslim women from a political participation, Fatma Fadl said:" of course the security services. For example, when Gihan Al Hnfawi ran for 2000 elections, the security service arrested her husband. Also, the political regime doesn"t give a priority women"s life,  especially in the Middle East "due to her many concerns that take much of her time".


Women"s full awareness, maturity will have a positive effect in society


Asked about the obstacles facing women"s involvement in the political process, Dr. Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood executive Bureau, said:" There many obstacles against women in general, not to a specific category of women. These many obstacles include some social traditions that suspect and doubt women"s capabilities, and that don"t encourage them to get involved in any new experiences. These social traditions are actually sidelining women.


A macho view is dominating the Egyptian society as a whole, a view whish isn"t in line with tenets of Islam .Women in Egypt are allowed to assume only some particular positions. We rarely see woman as a foreperson, chairperson, a judge or a politician. One of the most serious obstacles, according to Dr. Abd Al-Moneim, is the factor of poverty. "This poverty spawns unemployment, corruption and illiteracy . All these factors have a very bad effect on the society as a whole. Women are definitely bearing the lion"s share in theses serious defects.


As a result, added Dr. Abd Al-Moneim, we a few number of female political leaders in Egypt."


Asked why don"t they bring up female leaders inside the Muslim Brotherhood, away from security harassments, Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh replied that blaming only the security services for this defect isn"t right. If the woman seeks equality with men, she will according face what men face" he said.


Aboul-Fotouh pointed out that women haven"t been given their due rights up till now "although the Muslim Brotherhood took an initiative in the political, syndicate and educational fields for women. Women were involved in and affected these fields. However, there are still many rights that they haven"t been given yet.


Aboul-Fotouh highlighted women"s role which is as important as men"s. "Women"s full awareness and maturity in the various fields will certainly have a very positive effect in the society, he said.

Posted in MB News , Activites , Islamic Movements , Women  
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