Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Muslim Brotherhood and Women

The Muslim Brotherhood and Women
Mona Eltahawy

A quick tour of Islamist attitudes towards women in Arab countries is a warning of their damaging views.
In Palestine, just ask women how they have been marginalized by Hamas over the past few years. In Kuwait, ask women about the Islamist candidates who until this year blocked legislation giving them the right to vote.

And ask Algerian women about the violence unleashed on them by Islamists.

I cannot talk about the Muslim Brotherhood's position on women without mentioning hijab. For many in Egypt this might be a moot point. They will say that the majority of Egyptian women wear the hijab. While this might be true, it certainly isn't the point.

Regular readers of my articles will remember that in an interview in June with Mahdi Akef, the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, I asked him if the group planned to change anything in the Egyptian constitution regarding women's rights should they ever come to power.

To prove to me that the Brotherhood would not endanger women's rights, Akef pointed to me and said that although I was "naked" I had been allowed to enter his office. I objected and insisted I was not "naked." I was wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt and trousers. I said there were many views on Muslim women's dress but he insisted that there were no differences among the views.

Such an attitude not only belies the Brotherhood's true attitude towards women, but it also highlights the two languages they use: one with Egyptian or Muslim journalists and another with Western journalists. Akef would never have told a Western journalist she was "naked."

Egyptians are fed up of government authoritarianism and we certainly do not want to replace it with the Brotherhood's religiously-inspired authoritarianism.

For more


At 4:53 PM , Blogger HumZinger said...

Here we go with more journalistic drivel. General Guide Akef stated what he and millions of Muslims believe, "Kasiyat 3ariyat". So in the context of Mona's trousers and short sleeved T-shirt, in her worlds a bikini or a wet suit are also be considered clothed. As for the Western Journalist remark, it may come to Ms. Mona surprise that most professional businesses in the Western World have a strict dress code, none of which include a t-shirt, so spare us the unnecessary and antagonistic hearsay.

At 5:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Akef is a typical easter man that thinks with his private part. Just like all the hypocrites.
Who gave him the right to tell a person whether she is not appropriately dressed or not? is he God's appointee on earth! I love your views Mona, and we need more moderate Muslims like you to speak out to confront that evil group called the brotherhood. Al Mosawar magazine published an article with the brotherhood's plan "The conquest of Egypt'! , they are so hypocritical.

At 5:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Akef is a typical eastern man that thinks with his private part. Just like all the hypocrites.
Who gave him the right to tell a person whether she is not appropriately dressed or not? is he God's appointee on earth! I love your views Mona, and we need more moderate Muslims like you to speak out to confront that evil group called the brotherhood. Al Mosawar magazine published an article with the brotherhood's plan "The conquest of Egypt'! , they are so hypocritical.

At 8:05 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Are you joking Humzinger?? You need to get your facts straight before you start typing. First of all, Mona Eltahawy is an excellent journalist who is concerned (as I am) that FANATICS will start running our country Egypt. She is NOT a western journalist but an Egyptian journalist. Her interview with MB's Supreme Master Guide (or whatever you call him) Akef is an excellent example of what is to come to Egypt if the MB fanatics get in power...Iran and Saudi Arabia will be beautiful vacation resorts compared to Egypt! Women's rights, minority rights, freedom of speech, expression and media...you can forget about all of that stuff if the ridiculous MB come to power. Also, I don't know what country you are from (obviously not a western one) but in America you CAN wear a short sleeve shirt to many many jobs...apparantly the only way to dress appropriately, according to Humzinger, is to completely wrap yourself up in a Burqa...again, just like the paradise that is Iran and Saudi Arabia.
What is wrong with Egypt?? Why is the country becoming so fanatical?? What happened to the Egypt of the past where Muslims weren't so fanatical and got along with the Copts like in the 50's and 60's? People like humzinger is the reason!
Mona Eltahawy is a well respected journalist by all accounts and if she doesn't want to wear that damn veil then God bless her and her moderate convictions...I only hope humzinger will find the light.

Also, how about the latest from the MB? Copts complain about representation now...what's going to happen if they come to power? Their Supreme Moron Akef said that they would never allow for any Copt to govern in their own country!?! Can you believe that? Another point I heard from the MB is that they want to eliminate tourism in Egypt because tourists bring their "immoral" behavior to Egypt! Talk about an economic disaster...eliminate one of Egypts biggest contributor to the GDP?! The MB doesn't care about the welfare of all of the citizens of Egypt. All they care about is trying to establish a theocratic country in accordance with principles not from the 21st cenutry but the 7th century! How much poorer can Egypt get...I guess we'll find out if they have their way.

Jesus have mercy on all of us and God Bless the native people of Egypt!

St. Mark, Chicago

At 11:54 PM , Blogger HumZinger said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 1:23 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Well, it looks like Humzinger's response was not appropriate for this blog (assuming it was the one deleted by the blog administrator). I welcome any rebuttal as long as it is articulate and done with intelligence. God Bless

St. Mark Chicago

At 6:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 6:28 PM , Blogger HumZinger said...

My rebuttal neither contained profanity nor inflamatory remarks, yet it was struck out. It did however contain two facts, a former president with illicit relations in the oval office, in response to anonymous, and the native claim being baseless considering Chicago and all of the United States could be argued as native Indian land, and raises the question who are the native people of Indonesia, Pakistan, India, and Turkey, all populous muslim nations, in response to Peter.

I am disappointed the administrator would revert to such evasive tactics. Sad indeed.

At 8:36 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Humzinger - I hope that we can have a constructive dialogue without insults or inflammatory remarks. I respectfully diagree with you that the "native" comment is baseless...it is not. The Coptic Christians are the ACTUAL descendants of the Phaorohs. I have also read that up to 80% of Egypts current population are descendants of Copts who at some point in the last 1350 years converted to Islam due to the deplorable conditions Christians have suffered through in Egypt.
The big picture here is that ALL Egyptians share a common link yet the hatred and intolerance that flows through Egypt is really sad. I desparately dream of a day when ALL Egyptians will live together in a spirit of friendliness...like the old times.

No one argues that the American Indians are the indiginious people of America. But I will tell you that it is one of America's greatest shames on how they treated the Indians in the 18th-19th century...the difference is is that America AKNOWLEDGED the error of their ways and rectified the situation...sure it took 200 years of so but it was eventually resolved and now the American Indians are APPRECIATED by America...if only the same were true in Egypt.

Humzinger - I don't doubt you love Egypt...probably as much as I do. Shouldn't all Egyptians love those who love the country of Egypt?? Can only Muslims love Egypt?
The Copts of Egypt have suffered so damn terribly at the hands of the Romans, Byzantines and then the Arabs...that just about covers 2000 years!!! Talk about a people who truly love their country! I hope one day they can just live in peace.


At 1:50 AM , Blogger HumZinger said...

Peter, so if Muslim Copts are essentially decendants of Christian Copts, I fail to grasp the logic in statements like "God Bless the native people of Egypt!". And couldn't it be equally argued, and more likely true, that Muslim Copts converted to Islam based on a free and intelligent choice? And couldn't it be true that the current animosity between Muslim and Christian Copts is infuenced by hundreds years of crusades and invasions commited until this very day by mostly Christians, albeit not Coptic?

I think it is inconsistent to love Egypt and emphasize the differences between Muslim and Christian Copts.

At 2:04 AM , Blogger HumZinger said...

Also Peter, I am not well versed on the Native American subject, but I think you'll find this link to have some interesting information, such as that half of Native Americans live on reservations. It's painfully obvious there isn't a basis for comparison, but I would seriously question the sincerety of the arbitrator chosen.


At 3:08 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Humzinger, with all due respect are you going to tell me that that the spirit of animosity and unfriendliness between Copts and Muslims is a result of the CRUSADES 800-1000 years ago??? Are you also aware that the period of the Crusades were some of the worst times in the history of the Copts. This is a FACT Humzinger - The Crusaders viewed the Copts as heretics who weren't even Christian...as incredibly sad as this sounds they considered the Copts just as heretical as the Muslims.

I am going to quote for you a passage from, "Introduction to the Coptic Orthodox Chruch" by Father Tadros Malaty...a modern day saint!

"As for the Copts, they were the victims of all these raids. On one hand as the Muslims saw the invaders carrying crosses on their chests, they assumed that the Copts would side with the invaders, especially the Muslims coincidentally were imposing heavy tributes on the Copts. On the other hand, the Latins viewed the Copts as an outcast schism and in general worse than heritics in their view. That was the reason why subsequent to their occupation of Jerusalem the Crusaders disallowed the Copts from pilgrimages to the holy city as Copts were considered athesists. Renaudot reported that a Coptic historian complained about this treatment of the Copts saying that the Copts sorrow was not less than that of the Muslims. He also wrote: "Whose right is it to prevent the Nazarene Copts from pilgrimages to Jerusalem or from coming near the city? The Crusaders hated the Copts as if they were strayed from the steadfast faith."

I can some up that passage with one word...DEVASTATING! They were getting it from both sides. So to say that modern day sectarian problems are a result of the Crusades is quite ridiculous and baseless.

And let's not compare the way America treats its citizens and minorities compared to Egypt. There's no point because America is the most JUST and EMPATHETIC country/empire that this world has ever seen.

I look forward to your response Humzinger and may God Bless ALL Egyptians!!! And may ALL Egyptians treat each other with love and respect.

St. Mark Chicago

At 11:58 PM , Blogger HumZinger said...

I am glad you've included all Egyptians in your prayers.

And I believe I said "influenced" and not "caused", there is a significant difference between the two words.

Peter, never under estimate human tendency to lay guilt by association. Look at what Muslims worldwide have had to endure since 9/11. The fact that Christian Copts are crying foul to American Christians further supports the Muslim Copts position. This is also evident in a recent trend of Christian Copts taking up Western names such as Peter instead of Boutros and John instead of Yohanna. Even newly invented symbols such as the JC fish can be seen on the back of cars in the streets of Cairo.

As devastating as it may have been to have been persecuted by both Muslim Copts and Christian Europeans during periods of injustice, the Christian Copts don't seem to have learned the lesson, because the tank turret Michael Meunier will be riding on will aim at both Muslim and Christian Copts.

I await your response, and may God guide us all.

At 12:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

humzinger is a typicl Egyptian Muslim who keeps on crying for a delusion called the suffering of Muslims worldwide after 9/11 yet denies the obvious discrimination againt Copts...he is the product of Ibn Taymia, Muhammad Emara, and reading too many Hadiths from Bukhari and Muslim

At 1:04 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Regardless of semantics Humzinger, obvious discrimination of the "other" in Egypt of their BASIC civil rights can be hardly attributed (whether "influenced" or "caused") to the crusades of a 1000 years ago...just doesn't add up. Problems in Egypt are deep rooted...and I think we both know that.

You also seem to be bothered by the way Muslims are treated post 9/11 in US. I don't know if you've ever been to the US but Muslims here are treated just like every other citizen. There may be isolated incidents (many times justified) where there are problems but mostly they are treated with respect...hardly the same in Egypt! America has a concept of how to treat the "other." Can we say that about Egypt??!!

And I don't really give a whole lot of credence to your goofy attack of my name...humzinger. Peter is Boutros and Boutros is Peter...does that make sense to you??

And I don't seem to be following your terms "Muslim Copts" and "Christian Copts" they don't make sense. There are Muslims AND Copts.

***"As devastating as it may have been to have been persecuted by both Muslim Copts and Christian Europeans during periods of injustice, the Christian Copts don't seem to have learned the lesson, because the tank turret Michael Meunier will be riding on will aim at both Muslim and Christian Copts."***

I'm sorry...what was the "lesson" that Copts should have learned?? Is there a "lesson" to be taught? What are you so afraid of Humzinger?? Michael Meunier? Who exposes what's going on behind the curtain in Egypt? Don't be so afraid...I'm not sure who I'm dealing with but maybe anonymous is right...Humzinger, I really don't know who you are, what you are...but I'm probably done with this conversation. You should take a step back and relax and look inside yourself as to what your motives are...take care and peace.


At 6:22 PM , Blogger HumZinger said...

Peter: The difference between Peter and Boutros is only one is Coptic.

I agree, injustice, discrimination and human right violations are rampant in Egypt, and systematically unleashed upon both Muslims and Christians, but only one group is consistently lobbying the US Government to interfere. Does that tell you a little bit about both the lesson not learned and my intention here, Peter? To do so is simply unpatriotic and could lead to untold consequences.

Now I would like to ask you a question. Since Christian Egyptians are dissatisfied with the NDP, and are worried if not terrified of the MB, could you in God's name tell me what exactly would you like to see happen in Egypt? And try to be pragmatic but more importantly honest in your your answer.

May God guide us all.

At 7:28 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Humzinger, take a look at Magdi Khalil's article...THAT is what I would like to see Egypt do. He summarizes his points very succinctly. I think it is excellent.

And Humzinger, the only reason that Copts have turned to the US government is simply because the Egyptian government refuses to even recognize that there is a problem let alone help.

There's no doubt that the political climate in Egypt is terrible for both Copts and Muslims...let's try and do something about it with sensible and responsible leadership...not the MB.

In the future I would love to see any democracy conferences regarding Egypt be held in Egypt...but until then the US provides a listening ear...not to mention billions of dollars to Egypt.


At 12:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

al salam alikom :
I am a moslim girl and I have read some of what are written in this site and I noticed that there are a big hole between you and islam so I felt that it is my duety to make some things clear to you so may you please listen :
islam had never abused women ever. women used to fight beside the men at the wars and beside the profet mohamad.
and islam do say that women should share the man with the life and to take decissions by sharing the man.
and when they asked the profit mohamad who is the person you love most? he side "aisha" which is the name of his wife . so he didnot say my uncol who raised him and didnot say my father or friend but he mentioned his wife.

and about the hijab god told women to wear it and it is like protecter for her because itkeeps her away from te people eyes so when they deal with her they treet her as human not depending of her beauty or how do she wears but depending on her mind and thoughts and abilities. so she is like a jewellary and the hijab is like a box to keep the jewellary safe.
and thank you .

At 5:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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