- November 21, 2007
- 7 minutes read
Women in Muslim Brotherhood ..Towards More Political Participation
Many activists are questioning the role of the Muslim Brotherhood female members in the political action. It is worth mentioning that Egyptian security forces are besieging all demonstrations staged by the Muslim Brotherhood group in Egyptian universities and prevent demonstrators from expressing their opinions. They even excessively use force to disperse demonstrators. They use sticks, firearms, tear bombs and rubber bullets, critically injuring some students in the past years. Add to these violations expanding the random arrests and detentions .
These actions of using force in dispersing peaceful demonstrations carried out by the Muslim brothers and others are a serious violation to the right in the peaceful gathering, the freedom of opinion and expression and the freedom and personal safety guaranteed by the constitution and international covenants related to human rights.
Under such bad conditions, the Muslim Brotherhood female members participate in the public work of the Muslim Brotherhood group in demonstrations. Their role started to gain ground three years in a way that drew the Egyptian media and public opinion.
Asked by Ikhwanweb about the MB female members experience in participating in the political activities including demonstrations, Gihan Al Halafawi- the first candidate fielded by the Muslim Brotherhood in 2000 parliament elections, said that women has the right to take part in expressing their opinion and participate in demonstrations. She added that women should express their opinions whenever possible.
She pointed out that the women face injustices like men. What they face because of this is part of her sacrifice for her principles.
“No one can deny the tough harassments, including security problems, against women while they are struggling to gain their rights.
” We do never deny that our country care somehow for women. Women are given a special status. Therefore they face harassments which are not that violent due to remnants of traditions which are still respected by people.
Abdul Moneim Mahmoud, administrator of Ana Ikhwan, said in one of his blogs that the role of the Muslim Brotherhood female members inside the campus is still weak as they are only gathering themselves in a way that the media can easily spot.
Abd Al-Moneim said that the success of these MB female members can be attained through their interaction with other MB male members in-for example- spontaneous demonstrations that lack the tradition of keeping women behind and men at the lead.
Asked about her experience as a former assistant secretary general of Helwan University student union and a Muslim Brotherhood female activists, Shorouk Al Shawwaf said that she sees as acceptable the MB female members role in the university but she thinks that it is still not enough. The MB female members are still not that politically qualified and their utmost aspiration is to deliver a speech in a demonstration.
She added that the young ladies” political role inside the campus is growing. There was a female demonstrations in Helwan University which has been fully prepared by the young women. She said also that the woman”s role in the Egyptian society in general still needs more interaction especially regarding the political part because the society imposes on women some restrictions out of our Arab and eastern culture.
Shorouk denied that the security obsession is hindering the MB young ladies from maintaining their path because they have a staunch belief in the reformist message. She added that the security harassments are no more than a dismissal for only two weeks or summoning the father.
Shorouk saw that the security harassments that took place in Ain Shams University two years ago should actually be blamed on the MB young ladies. This day was tense in all Egypt universities and the MB young ladies took part in the demonstration in the morning and they did not leave the university. They should have left it immediately as they usually do this after every demonstration.
Arwa Al Tawil, administrator of iamkeda.blogspot.com said that the Muslim Brotherhood young ladies have a weak role and a weak political participation inside the campus. She also blames the MB for not preparing or caring for female cadres.
Asked about the security harassments against the MB female members inside the campus, Arwa said that there are still remnants of Egyptian chivalry and that the worst punishments are two weeks dismissals or summoning the parent. She sees that the security fear is overblown inside people”s souls.
Somayya Al Erian said that there is a huge gap between the role performed by MB young men and the one carried out by young ladies in the Muslim Brotherhood. This is clearly evident in the media and the group.
This is actually attributed to several reasons including the young ladies” inclination to carry out educational and missionary work, while they don”t like to go through the political work.
Somayya Al Erian added that she feels the young ladies” political role is starting to grow. Two years ago, there was no political committee for female university students, she said.
Regarding the security situation, she said that the security wasn”t provoked by the role carried out by the female students. However, in 2005 when the MB female students participated noticeably in the political life, the security sent them a message through Ain Shams MB female members.
She also that the Egyptian society has no courage in front of the security. She added that Egyptian families prevent their girls from any political participation although they allow their sons to participate.
Yahia Zakariya – the media spokesman of the MB students in Ain Shams University- said that there is a noticeable surge in the participation of the Muslim Brotherhood female students in the political student life. He said that this surge started in 2005 when the young ladies decided to take part in reforming and demonstrating, triggering more security harassments.
He said that the first security harassments against the young ladies were in Ain Shams University, then they appeared in the Helwan University and Monofiya university due to their participation in the students” public work.
Yahia welcomed this noticeable surge in the political activity of the MB female students, citing the Secretary-General of Cairo University Frees Student Union, a young lady affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Yahia Zakariya expects more political participation from women in the Egyptian society in general and from the MB women in particular.
For his part, Amr Magdi a Muslim Brotherhood student activists in Cairo University said that that the idea of allowing MB ladies to take part in the public work is a new thought that jas been growing inside the Muslim Brotherhood group during the past years. It was delayed because MB students didn”t want young ladies to face any security problem.
“It is clear that those running work inside the group gave the go-ahead to the idea of allowing MB female students to take part in the political action”, said Amr.
“Security harassments shouldn”t be taken as a reason for preventing women from taking part in the political work inside the Muslim Brotherhood group. During the past ten years, the security harassments in demonstrations were no more than cordoning the demonstration or catching it on a camera” said the young MB blogger