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Egypt: Women of the Muslim Brotherhood rebel
Egypt: Women of the Muslim Brotherhood rebel
Women are raising their voices for the first time in the history of one of the most important political movements in the Islamic world, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Sunday, December 23,2007 05:28

Women are raising their voices for the first time in the history of one of the most important political movements in the Islamic world, Egypt"s Muslim Brotherhood.

A group of women from the movement has appealed for the right to run for office as members of the movement"s council, "to resolve the internal problems of the organisation, play a more important role and participate in political life so that they can be elected to the general leadership".

This request has been written and published on the Internet site of the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Sunni movement considered one of the world"s most influential Islamist groups.In the missive, addressed to the leader of the movement, Muhammad Mahdi Akif, the women complain of being obstructed while their meetings are considered "meetings of housewives in which they only speak about their children and their vegetables."

It"s the first time women have made such an appeal since the movement was established in 1928. The Brotherhood"s general leadership has asked to meet one of these Islamic leaders, Risha Ahmad, who teaches in the faculty of medicine at an Egyptian university. "Dear father, I am one of the thousands of your daughters and sisters that appeals to you to do us the honour to be a part of this organisation," says the teacher. " I am 35 years old. We know the problems that interest the movement and we have also put forward some proposals without, however, receiving a response."Then I wonder, perhaps Allah has not spoken to women in the same way he has spoken to men? Then inside our organisation why are there some things for men and some things for women?

"I realise that there are some things that only women can do but I don"t think that it is fair that they are happening now."

Risha complains that women in the Brotherhood can only take part in the work of certain committees, while others are banned from politics or involved in communication, although members of the movement specialise in these areas.Actually, this letter was sent in a private form to Akif some time ago, through internal channels of the movement, but the young Islamic activist did not receive a response.

After trying to make contact several times with the leader of the movement, she decided to go public posting the document on the website of the brotherhood.It is not, however, an isolated protest. Other women have taken a courageous position and put their requests on the same website calling for internal reform sought by women inside the movement.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest political opposition organisation in many Arab nations, particularly Egypt. Founded by the Sufi schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928, several linked groups have since formed across many nations of the Muslim world.

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