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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood: A project of patriarchal extremism

The Muslim Brotherhood's rejection of a UN declaration against violence against women has shown up the Islamist group's patriarchal atavism for all to see

Margot Badran , Thursday 28 Mar 2013
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Views: 6064

Gaining freedom of speech and other forms of unfettered public visibility after long decades of repression and silencing – thanks to the January 25 Revolution – the Muslim Brothers now raise their collective voice in defence of patriarchal oppression writ wide and deep.

The Muslim Brothers (not the breakaways and principled youth among them) with increasingly shrill voices have been telling everyone that they decide upon the rights of human beings – what is good and necessary for everybody – in an aggressive display of authoritarian arrogance. 

They unabashedly use Islam to shore up the patriarchy they hold dear and the power that goes with it. What they have dribbled out piecemeal over the past two years on the floor of the (now defunct) parliament or in the media the Muslim Brothers have now pulled together in an official declaration of their patriarchal project.

What brought this out we might ask?  Can this be seen as an answer to the spectre of women’s power and anxieties about creeping egalitarianism?  The 57th meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) from 4 to 15 March confronting violence against women in all guises flushed out the pronunciamento. Now we have it, not in stray demands for reigning in women that might have been put down to rogue voices but as a larger package.

The international attention given this month to the scourge of violence against women was highlighted in neon by the spike in physical and sexual attacks against women in streets and public squares in Egypt. Young women, along with outraged young men, are taking matters into their own hands trying to provide security and fighting back in the absence of efforts by the Islamist-headed state, which seems more involved safeguarding itself than its citizens. We see the Muslim Brothers fiercely protecting their headquarters under attack, including roughing up women, they who pretend to value women.

Instead of joining efforts to stop violence against women, demonstrating genuine concern for women, the Muslim Brothers seized the occasion of the UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting to blast these global efforts and flex their patriarchal muscle.

If they wish to deflect attention from their waning influence, the Muslim Brothers are courting just the opposite. They are pushing the proponents of justice, freedom and dignity to fight harder to achieve the societal transformation the revolution has set in motion.

Rather than making common cause with Egyptian women, and the world at large in tackling the urgent matter of violence against women now reaching epidemic proportions, the Muslim Brothers swivel attention away from the blight of violating women back to distracting harangues about religion and culture (as defined by them), fecklessly sheltering their patriarchy in its folds.

In the lead-up to the vote on the draft statement on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence against Women and Girls, the Muslim Brothers issued their patriarchal broadside condemning the CSW statement claiming it “includes articles that contradict established principles of Islam, undermine Islamic ethics and destroy the family.” 

If ratified, they warned, the declaration “would lead to complete disintegration of society.” They topped it up with the old mantra that this would “be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve the cohesion of Islamic societies.” 

Apart from the pontification of the Muslim Brothers bordering on shirk by seeming to endow the Muslim Brothers with divine authority, the old ‘religious and cultural invasion argument’ has become threadbare.

From the Muslim Brothers’ declaration we hear about the doom and gloom that await if the UN document is ratified (which was soon after their statement was posted). Their declaration is an outline of patriarchy, egregiously alleging the benediction of Islam in its assault against the notion of equality. 

It intones on what women and girls should do and not do, should be and not be. It is about men’s control of women. It is concerned with men’s privileges, power and authority. There is not a word about violence against women, about men’s physical and sexual violence against women and violation of women’s rights. The Muslim Brothers outrageously exploit an occasion for dealing with violence against women to uphold male pre-eminence.

In demonising the UN statement, the Muslim Brothers enumerate “the destructive tools meant to undermine the family as an important institution that would subvert the entire society.”  We name three. (For the full list see: Ikhwan Web)

·       “Replacing guardianship [of women by men] with partnership, and a full sharing of roles within the family between men and women such as spending, childcare and home chores.”

·       “Removing the authority of divorce from husbands and placing it in the hands of judges [actually this already happened a decade ago when a law was enacted allowing women to request divorce in front of a judge through a mechanism known as khul’]

·       “Cancelling the need for a husband’s consent in matters like travel [around the same time this has already been granted to women]…”

The Muslim Brother’s patriarchal atavism is in direct clash with the time of revolution when Egyptians are fighting to assure the triumph of freedom, justice and dignity achievable only in an egalitarian order. Patriarchy as a regime of control, of the older over the younger, of men over women, of the privileged over the less advantaged is doomed. Bashing women, sending them home, telling them how to live their lives – all this violence and violation of women as part of broad intersecting layers of violence and violation to assure the domination of the few over the any will not do the trick.

The revolution as a profound and comprehensive transformation will be realised when patriarchy and its institutions, ideas and practices are dismantled and all the political, social and cultural jahaliyya detritus is dumped in the trash bin. Islam will no longer be called upon to do patriarchy’s political work. Egalitarianism of gender, age, class, ethnicity and belief will triumph over patriarchy as its grid of inequities is split apart.  It will be an undivided secular/religious victory.

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Hoping E gyptian
01-04-2013 04:49pm
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Respect
You know how civilized a society is when you see that the women have the FULL rights like men.Hence the MBH have to learn that if they are really aiming at creating a prosperous Egypt they have to separate religon from politics.. Women have to be freed from men's control if we want to develop this country. If MBH insist that women can only travel after obtaining their husband's permission the opposite should be also implemented. No human being should have a super power over another human being. Morsy tried but the strong Egyptian will forced him back. Let us show the world that we are ready for development and civilization. We will be respected more and many hands will reach out to us to help Egypt to overcome its disastrous economic failure that is coused mainly by the MBH policy that devided our Society to (with us and against us, previouse and present regime, militery and cevilian adminstration,man and women and muslim and Christian).
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6



Western Men's Rights Activist of Oriental Origin
01-04-2013 02:52am
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Badran should stop talking and writing / Feminism, go west
Margot Badran should stop spreading her feminist poison. The so called women's rights are just female privilege because if they would be human rights, they would be just the same ones the men have. Further implementation of them is okay but not special rights (a.k.a. privileges) So to all the future male victims of Feminism in Egypt and the Middle East I just say: The MB is right, because the UN declaration doesn't contain the things Badran already mentioned; it contains things Badran omits with purpose like the following ones: 1) Girls should have the right of total sexual freedom, including homosexual freedom, that says they can be sluts and porn stars. Ever wondered why Western women are so unhappy. Here is one reason. 2)Girls in puberty should have access to means of contraception, including abortion that says: This is a notion even unheard in some Western countries. Minor girls can abort their children or get pills and condoms. Well, this is a logic conclusion of Point 1
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Annemarie
02-04-2013 08:57am
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Go east
When you don't like western equal rights for women and men go back to the orient and take all your buddyand take all your buddys with you.
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Roslyn
31-03-2013 08:45am
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The 'weaker' sex?
Such a very clear and concise analysis of the MB, as much as the women of Egypt know only too well that the MB view women as, quite inferior to men, despite their profound denials, imagine needing your husband's permission to travel, amongst other demeaning and undermining MB 'laws', it was good to get an official confirmation direct from the MBs themselves. Do they honestly think women will give up what they have fought for over the centuries, they need to look around the world, at the powerful women, in fact, two are about to decide whether Egypt qualifies for the IMF loan, maybe this is adding to their scorn and dismay of the 'weaker' sex.
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4



Tammy
30-03-2013 10:13pm
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bh FEARS womens rights!
I believe the bh is afraid of women having any rights that men have no control over.....and the bh has every reason to be afraid, women are sick & tired of being treated like they are less than the dirt under men’s feet & the women of Egypt have found their voice at last.. I applaud the UN & the women in Egypt & the rest of the world who have had enough of being treated like brainless non-thinking non-productive citizens & slaves!!! God gave us ALL brains, free will & the ability to make our own choices & decisions & its about time the bh realized it....behind every man is a mother & women deserve to be treated with the respect & dignity they have earned through the ages NOT LIKE BRAINLESS SLAVES to be bullied, bossed, beaten & raped by men!!! if the bh does not like it they need to crawl back into their stone age caves, without women...
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3



Amanda
30-03-2013 12:00pm
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words
interesting article on an important topic...but i fear it will lose readers because of the language. i genuinely mean it as constructive criticism to suggest shorter, simpler sentences and simpler words (thesaurus not needed). i have a degree and MA in literature and theory of criticism. i'm used to reading things like Foucault which use such technical language they are difficult to get through. there's an argument there that such language is needed to achieve very specific meanings. i dont think that's the case with this article though, and felt the unnecessary wordiness of it is only likely to see it read far less often than the subject matter deserves. thanks.
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neil
29-03-2013 01:45pm
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no grey area
you are judged by the company you keep, so, while I too see gay marriage, abortion, equating sex outside marriage with sex within it, and labeling children are burdens, as unabashed assaults on the foundation of society, I can never be seen marching with the worst of male chauvinist pigs, also six-day creationists, flat earthers,
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1



Nora
28-03-2013 04:50pm
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Why can't you report the truth?
It was not the MB who objected to the UN, the whole world has been following this story, only for A.O to twist " UNITED NATIONS - An "unholy alliance" of Iran, Russia, the Vatican and others is threatening to derail a UN declaration urging an end to violence against women and girls by objecting to language on sexual, reproductive and gay rights, some UN diplomats said" that was posted in Jerusalem Post. Google it, In your effort to defame the MB, do not lose your ethics by spreading false information.
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Gigi
28-03-2013 06:22pm
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Too Late!
You are behind the times Nora - it has already been ratified!
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