- July 2, 2007
MB University Female Students, Security Obstacles
Students are still a key factor in the political reform process and social movement in Egypt. This has been more stressed this year specially in the midst of the many problems and crises facing students, particularly Muslim Brotherhood students after the free student union experience.
Muslim Brotherhood female students have had their share of this fierce confrontation with university administration. The following report sheds light on MB female students and their social and service role for students.
Obstacles Facing MB Female Students
Khulaida Sanaa Abu Zeid, a fourth year female student in the Faculty of Economy and Political Sciences, told Ikhwanweb:” A key obstacles is that we are at the final year in the university. Girls are traditionally assumed to do specific tasks due to the society”s view at women .
The second obstacle, said Khulaida, is the definitely the security side. It is a common factor among both male and female students and the society at large. This obstacle restricts our activities and movement as girls . There are many activities which we can”t do in the university because the security service does not allow to do them. I do not mean here political issues but I mean normal and simple activities aimed at helping others. If there is any agreement on any thing with the security, THIS Takes place through helping some young men with whom they can easily deal”.
This view was approved HA, a fourth year student in the Faculty of Arts, Cairo University. She said that one the most prominent obstacles facing them is that:” The administration thinks that they are enemies and deals with them according to this groundless belief”.
“The university administration deals with us in an outlandishly hostile method. It also stris disagreements with us. When we hold a charitable exhibition, the administration obstructs it using any method. When we hang a billboard about the exhibition, for example, some of them park their cars in front of this ad on purpose. There are many other methods. Why do they hold investigations with us?. We are not definitely opposing them,” added HA.
HA wondered:” Why do you they say that we are like their children and harm us in any possible way?!. Why do they oblige some students, a very few days before the exams, to appear before investigations over fake charges and allegations, in order to deny the students a sufficient time to study ahead of the exams?!.
To cite a personal experience, HA said:” The dean of the faculty saw me along with some female students standing with each other. He approached and asked us ” What are you doing?”. I told him that we are distributing sweet and I gave him a piece”. “Only distributing sweet?” he wondered. I don”t know why he is skeptical, viewing us as enemies and showing an ill-treatment towards us as if we are their enemies.
HA adds:” In fact, every one has the right to exercise activities in the university. The university administration denies us this legitimate right. There is no real activity in the government vetted student union. Even during elections, a small note is hanged in a difficultly visible place to add more to the students passivity. How can I exercise my activity while the administration doesn’t provide it to me?. Many courses in our syllabus are unsuccessful methods but we are obliged to study them and can”t change them. Three are so wonderful sports playgrounds in some faculties but they are deserted and students do not enter them. They do not allow the youth lead a normal life or express their views freely?. Why don”t they give the society the opportunity to raise a socially, physically and economically normal human being?. Why do not they give us the opportunity to legally and positively change what we want?”.
HA said that two female students at Ain Shams university were detained, beaten and were even held in a police station till midnight. This raised a huge hubbub at that time because they did nothing wrong for third injustice. Restrictions agisnt female students at Cairo university are excluded to investigations, warnings of dismissal and fierce security harassments. Some female students were dismissed for only several days.
Khulaida supported this view. She said that detentions and even warnings of dismissal have been rarely used against MB female students at Cairo University. Citing a personal experience, she said that the student group in which she was a member, was canceled by the university that warned students against dealing with it, although this student group is exercising activities in the faculty since 1980s.
Khulaida added that many warnings of dismissal universitywide were sent more than once to families of the female students. They were threatened with dismissal and faced disciplinary boards over false allegations. That a female student appears in front of investigation is considered an insult. One female student in the Faculty of Commerce received a warning of dismissal for distributing sweet among other feloow female students!!.
Activities Of MB female Students
HA adds” There are many activities that Our Sisters (MB Female Students) carry out inside the university. The most important and most effective of these activities is helping students. For example, girls in the Faculty of Arts didn”t have a place for worship. We asked young men”s permission to use their place of worship because the young men can worship at any place. The place is currently allocated for women”s prayer and we are supervising and regularly cleaning it since. We are also help fresh first year students while presenting their admission papers to the faculty because they know nothing about the faculty and can”t choose departments by themselves. We give them such information about every department to help them take sound choices.
There are also direct activities like exhibitions and parties held to mark several occasions like, for example, the Mother”s Day, during which we distribute books about mothers and filial gratitude, or even sell and distribution audio tapes about filial gratitude. This activity is reloaded in other occasions like nearing the holly month of Ramadan. The best activities that include a big number of girls other than MB female members are picnics during which the number of the girls doubles or triples the number of Sisters.”
For her part, Khulaida said about the most important activities that Muslim Brotherhood female students give at universities:” There are service activity, like receiving and greeting female fresh students at the university and offering sweet and various aid to them. The second is the political activity but we aren”t comparing our political activity with the male students”. This is because we are still beginners in the experience of participating in the political activity, including marches and rallies inside the university . the third kind of these activities is the Da”wa (preaching) and instructional activities, through which we seek to change students to become successful students . This actually depends so much on the thought and values of the religious girls who are shouldered with the mission of reform in the faculty. There is also the entertainment part like trips and parties.”
Asked about the most effective activities that Muslim Brotherhood female students carried out in the faculty, Khulaida said:” for example, we held the demonstration supporting the veil after the notorious statements of Culture Minister, Farouk Hosni. A big number of veiled and unveiled students joined us. All of us, adopting common values, opposed what Farouk Hosni said. All Egyptians don”t oppose the values we are preaching. There may be some kind of difference in methods but we agree in ends. Many people think that the Muslim Brotherhood is a close society and they fear approaching us. The most important thing is how far you can attract and persuade people.”
Asmaa Yasser, a student in the Faculty of Applied Arts, said that the activity of the Islamic movement is very clear and effective in the faculty. Girl”s activities are even mare than young men”s. she attributes this to the number of the young men which is less than the number of girls in the university. She says that the young men and young women have different and distinguished projects.
“We have our own activities and the young men have their own activities, but we sometimes do the same activity or project if there is a general issue that concerns all. The contact takes place through an MB member that has a brother in the Islamic movement”s young men, adds Asmaa”.
As for the relation between activities carried out by young men carry out and those carried out by young girls, Khulaida said:” Regarding the political activity, a little is done by young women. We cooperate with the young men in this field, indirectly of course. We are coordinating with them although we exert efforts to have our own work.