Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous Post | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next Post »

EGYPT: Sisters want voice in Muslim Brotherhood

November 4, 2008 |  8:33 am

Veiled_women The sisters in the brotherhood demand change.

Women in Egypt’s largest Islamic political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, want to reshape an organization that is heavily patriarchal.

The brotherhood often overlooks or does not reward the accomplishment of its "sisters."

The group's new political platform angered many members by opposing the idea of a woman being elected president of Egypt.

This rumble of discontent comes as bloggers and other reformers are pushing the brotherhood to loosen its religious rigidity and modernize.

Otherwise, they say, the organization will fail to speak to the needs and aspirations of today’s Egyptians.

A report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace found that “women activists have been at the forefront of the Brotherhood’s political struggle and have become highly visible in key political events, but their role still goes unrecognized.”

Written by Omayma Abdel-Latif the report continues:

“There is, however, growing evidence to suggest that more and more Islamist women are becoming restless with their subordinate status and are seeking ways to assert their demands for more representation inside the movement and broader participation in politics. An important factor in this is the emergence of a young generation of Islamist women activists who are critical of their marginal status and believe that the Muslim Sisters’ role has outgrown their subordinate positions in the movement.”

-- Jeffrey Fleishman in Cairo

Photo: Women in Cairo. Credit: AFP/Getty

P.S. Get news from the Middle East in your mailbox every day. The Los Angeles Times distributes a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East, including the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. You can subscribe by logging in at the website here, clicking on the box for "L.A. Times updates" and then clicking on the "World: Mideast" box.