Egypt's Brotherhood denies report Muslim Sisters demand top posts

Ahram Online , Tuesday 13 Nov 2012

Country's leading Islamist group refutes recent press report suggesting that members of its female wing were agitating for top positions within the organisation

File photo: Supporters of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood 'The Freedom and Justice Party' participate in a march in support of the party ahead of parliamentary elections, in Cairo November 16, 2011. (Photo: AP)

Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan on Tuesday denied media claims that the Muslim Sisters, the Brotherhood's female wing, were demanding leading positions within the prominent Islamist organisation.

On Tuesday, private daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported that the Muslim Sisters were demanding more political participation and leading positions within the group.

The paper reported that a meeting had taken place earlier this week between several Muslim Sisters and Gomaa El-Amin, a vice-president of the Brotherhood, during which the sisters had articulated demands for inclusion in the group's Shura Council and authoritative Guidance Bureau.

Ghozlan, for his part, told Al-Ahram's Arabic-language website that the alleged meeting had actually been a religious lecture delivered by El-Amin and attended by a number of Muslim Sisters from the Helwan governorate.  

The group's spokesman went on to accuse those who were speaking to the media in the name of the Muslim Sisters of not even being members of the group.

"They're not sisters; the sisters are committed to the customs and regulations of the Muslim Brotherhood," Ghozlan told Al-Ahram.

Nevertheless, Ghozlan went on to stress that the Brotherhood's leadership was currently studying requests by members of the group's female wing for inclusion in plans to improve and develop the organisation.

Meanwhile, Sabah El-Saqari, a member of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party who had earlier run for the post of party chairman, told Al-Ahram that she had rejected calls to give the Muslim Sisters a larger political role and higher positions within the Muslim Brotherhood. El-Saqary attributed the relative lack of Muslim Sisters in the organisation's hierarchy to security reasons.

"The Brotherhood was frequently subject to security crackdowns in the past, especially during the Mubarak era," she explained. "It was not acceptable to the group to see its female members subjected to arrest or torture."

The Muslim Brotherhoods' Azza El-Garf, also a member of Egypt's Constituent Assembly (tasked with drafting a new constitution), says there is "no need" for enhancing the sisters' role within the organisation.

"The Muslim Sisters are already contributing effectively in the Brotherhood," she told Al-Ahram. "Their opinions are respected and listened to."

El-Garf went on to stress that the Brotherhood had "strict regulations" governing work relations between women and men, which, she said, "cannot be ignored."

The Muslim Sisters were only recently granted the right to vote in the Islamist organisation's internal elections.

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