Muslim Brotherhood says “no” to women’s equality

March 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm (Civil liberties, Egypt, Human rights, islamism, Middle East, reblogged, religion, religious right, secularism, UN, women)

Above: Egyptian women wave a flag showing pharaoh Queen Hatshepsut and anti-Muslim Brotherhood banners during a demonstration in Cairo, marking this year’s International Women’s Day.

by Ophelia Benson (Butterflies and Wheels)

The Muslim Brotherhood has issued a statement denouncing a proposed statement by the UN Commission on the Status of Women because it “contradicts principles of Islam and destroys family life and entire society.”

The 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), taking place from March 4 to 15 at UN headquarters, seeks to ratify a declaration euphemistically entitled ‘End Violence against Women’.

That title, however, is misleading and deceptive. The document includes articles that contradict established principles of Islam, undermine Islamic ethics and destroy the family, the basic building block of society, according to the Egyptian Constitution.

This declaration, if ratified, would lead to complete disintegration of society, and would certainly be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve cohesion of Islamic societies.

Ah yes good old “moral specificity” that makes it ok to pretend women are inferior and subordinate, along with good old pseudo-anti-imperialism used to shore up theocratic imperialism. It’s a cute trick, pretending that rights for women amount to “intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries.”

A closer look at these articles reveals what decadence awaits our world, if we sign this document:

3. Granting equal rights to adulterous wives and illegitimate sons resulting from adulterous relationships.

4. Granting equal rights to homosexuals, and providing protection and respect for prostitutes.

5. Giving wives full rights to file legal complaints against husbands accusing them of rape or sexual harassment, obliging competent authorities to deal husbands punishments similar to those prescribed for raping or sexually harassing a stranger.

6. Equal inheritance (between men and women).

That’s decadence, is it? Not treating women who have non-marital sex as having no rights – that’s decadence? Not treating marital rape as perfectly fine is decadence?

7. Replacing guardianship with partnership, and full sharing of roles within the family between men and women such as: spending, child care and home chores.

Jesus god – it’s decadent to treat women and men as equals as opposed to making men the guardians of their wives, as if women were children?

8. Full equality in marriage legislation such as: allowing Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, and abolition of polygamy, dowry, men taking charge of family spending, etc.

9. Removing the authority of divorce from husbands and placing it in the hands of judges, and sharing all property after divorce.

10. Cancelling the need for a husband’s consent in matters like: travel, work, or use of contraception.

These are destructive tools meant to undermine the family as an important institution; they would subvert the entire society, and drag it to pre-Islamic ignorance.

The Muslim Brotherhood urges the leaders of Muslim countries and their UN representatives to reject and condemn this document, and to call upon this organization to rise to the high morals and principles of family relations prescribed by Islam.

And these are the people who are in power in Egypt, along with the Salafists, who are even worse.


  1. Matthew Blott said,

    Send a link of this to Mehdi Hasan.

  2. Mick O said,

    Muslim Brotherhood says “no” to womens equality. Well I never. Who’d have predicted that?

  3. Clive said,

    Sadly, Mick, huge numbers of people on the British and international left did not predict it and condemned those of us who were worried by the prospect of Muslim Brotherhood power in Egypt and elsewhere as Islamophobes and pro-imperialists. Right up to the presidential election face-off this was a very live argument.

  4. Mick O said,

    Not just the left Clive. The way many mainstream politicians and media commentators have portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as a positive moderate influence has puzzled me for a long time.

  5. Leon J Williams said,

    No surprise. Islam = fascism.

  6. Modernity's Ghost said,

    Do you know what is most disappointing when you comment or read socialist blogs nowadays?

    It is not the sectarianism. It is not the preponderant of fallacies.

    It is the annoying and simplistic sloganeering as with Leon J Williams “No surprise. Islam = fascism.” which is common.

    He’s not alone, you can see such comments on any Far Right site, even amongst the Tea Partiers.

    It is an absurd reductionism, which conveys the impression that political activist are either chronically stupid or can’t understand what affects their words might have.

  7. Jim Denham said,

    Frankly, I’m more worried by the pro-Islamicist “left” (eg SWP, ‘Counterfire’) and the liberal-relativists (eg The Graun), who’ve been making out that the Brotherhood is “moderate” and/or “progressive”.

    Those who call the Brotherhood “fascists” are closer to the mark.

    For instance, denying 50% of thy population equal rights…

  8. Modernity's Ghost said,


    Leon J Williams didn’t say the MB are fascist, as you can read.

    He said “Islam = fascism”

    There is a big difference.

    As you are well aware, in the 1930s people used to attack Judaism as a method of having a dig (or worse) at Jews.

    So antiracists should not be oblivious to the dog whistles which go on, or the use of crass language, etc etc

    I can provide other examples, if that wasn’t too clear?

  9. Jim Denham said,

    You will note, Mod, that I refer all the time to “Islamism” or “Islamicism” not “Islam”. Some of us have had a long, hard political struggle to establish that differentiation. One is a political dogma; the other is as simple belief.

    Clearly, the commenter Williams does not understand that differentiation, and it’s good that you’ve drawn that to our attention.

    I will stand (and *have* stood) shoulder to shoulder with *anyone* defending Muslims from physical attack.

    But the main problem, now, is pro-Islamist relativists like the Graun. And there’s long been a thoroughly dishonest campaign to suggest that criticising Islamism is racist.

  10. Modernity's Ghost said,


    That is a different kettle of fish.

    How would you react, if he had written instead, “Judaism=Racism” or “Judaism=fascism”

    We should encourage a sophisticated level of understanding on these issues, not simplistic slogans.

  11. Jim Denham said,

    I try to keep things in proportion, Mod, and to politically assess the most important issues. That means sometimes not being diverted by secondary issues and trivia.

    The important issue here is the Brotherhood’s attitude to 50% of the human race. Or do you not agree?

  12. Modernity's Ghost said,

    Indeed, Jim, you keep things in such proportion that you avoid answering a direct question.

    But don’t worry, I’m used to Trots and political ‘activists’ framing a discussion to avoid the unpalatable.

    That probably explains their success in Britain!

    Even when they have a sympathetic ear like me, they can’t resist the temptation to appear shifty (and I fully appreciate that may not be your intention, but if someone asks you a direct question its probably not a bad idea to answer it, lest it come across poorly).

    As for the MB, they are doing what all politicians do playing into the sentiments of their constituency, the Tories do it. Trots do it. etc.

    It is a common enough approach.

    However, I would worry if I were you, when a socialist blog is used as a soapbox by political simpletons and those with hangups, as with Leon J Williams’ comment, rather than to discuss the complex issues underlying this topic.

    So Jim, would you find it acceptable if he had written “Judaism=Racism” or “Judaism=fascism” ?

    • Jim Denham said,

      Mod: I would find it neither “acceptable” nor “unacceptable” but childish and irrelevant (actually, as you know, the Star of David is regularly shown alongside a swastika on placards and banners at demos).

      And I have to say that your last comment seems to demonstrate a remarkable degree of indifference to an organisation backed by The Graun, the SWP and swathes of the “left” internationally, being so explicitly opposed to basic human rights for women and, indeed, gays.

      The Brotherhood can fairly be described as clerical fascists.

      • Modernity's Ghost said,

        ” I would find it neither “acceptable” nor “unacceptable” but childish and irrelevant “


        Tut, tut.

        You are far too modest.

        Both you and I, and most regular readers know what you would have said in such an instance.

        Had someone posted “Judaism=Racism” or “Judaism=fascism” then you would have called them an antisemite, quicker than a penny can drop to the floor

        And had you done so, then you’d be right, because to use a cloak of religion to attack ethnic or social minorities is a well-known tactic and socialists should be aware of it.

        That applies to Judaism, Islam or even Catholicism**, etc

        Socialists should be cognisant of such ploys and not let any, natural, anti-clerical sentiment override their antiracism or political common-sense.

        Now Jim, please don’t be modest on this topic, show the same vigour that you do when combating antisemitism.

        ** If any readers queried this I can post volumes on the British treatment the Irish, etc etc

      • Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) OOps upside your Head this time with feeling said,

        fuck off mudblerggHHH

  13. Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

    I’ll give my two cents. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are all in many ways fascist, authoritarian, superstitious, genocidal, racist and contradictory with a little bit of socialism. It’s very easy to find the most vile of verses in all the holy books for all three of the major monotheistic religions. Believe it or not the worst of the bunch is the Old Testament since there are acts of genocide that take place in some of the God sanctioned battles.

  14. Mick O said,

    Babz Badasbab Rahman 12 49 am. A fair point I agree. However, I think you have to accept the fact that in most societies where Judaism or Christianity are the dominant religion it is not dangerous to be a non believer. Where Islam is dominant the opposite is usually the case. No doubt this can be claimed to be a simplistic view and I am also aware that there are exceptions to this rule. As long as this situation remains the norm it is inevitable that Islam will attract more criticism than other religions.

    • Modernity's Ghost said,

      Is it obligatory that commenters on this site take up simplistic, crude and offensive positions?

      Do people here wish for socialist ideas to succeed?

      Because if they did, genuinely want socialist ideas, to succeed then they wouldn’t try to sound like bigots or ignoramuses, as we’ve seen above.

      Or could it be that “activists” deliberately wish to isolate themselves to avoid having to deal with these difficult issues of antiracism ?

    • Babz Badasbab Rahman said,

      Mick- That’s very true and without looking like I’m trying to excuse brutality in the name of Islam, one has to look at history and see how secularism and the eventual forced separation of Church and State in the Judeo-Christian world was won through centuries of hard struggles. The Islamic world is going through this struggle now for various reasons, one being most Arab/Islamic countries were under European/Ottoman domination for centuries so were unable to forge their own path for hundreds of years, another being the malevolent spread of Wahabbi/Salafist Islam funded mainly by a major Western ally in Saudi Arabia for the past 50-60 years.

      I mean you wouldn’t say Marxism is a force for evil due to the Stalinist states that came to be.

  15. Mick O said,

    I would certainly like to see socialist ideas succeed but since when did socialist ideas include support for regimes that have no respect for the rights of women and minorities?

  16. Modernity's Ghost said,

    So far we’ve had a sequence of non sequiturs

    Any chance of anyone making an effort to read what I have written and engaging with it, rationally?

    • Jim Denham said,

      Mod: I’ve engaged with what you’ve written to the degree I consider it warrants engagement. You, I note, have had precisely *nothing* to say about the subject of this post.

      • Modernity's Ghost said,


        You’re absolutely right.

        I was being naive to suppose that Trots and the like could honestly engage with the topic of anti-racism in any sophisticated way, without being told what to think, how to think it and without reference to some ancient political text from Russia/Russians!

      • Modernity's Ghost said,

        The problem here, for political activists, is how such language as “Islam = fascism” alienates people.

        Its like Richard Dawkins when he talks about “Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today” it conveys a message, that Dawkins really doesn’t like Muslims.

        That might not be his intention, however, that is what many people hear.

        It deliberately puts a barrier between activists and minorities, and makes the possibility of united work against racism in society harder.

        Worthwhile thinking about.

  17. Rosie said,

    Piece here in The Graun:-

    “Before his election, Morsi had tried to promote his image as a democratic and progressive leader who respected women’s rights. He even pledged to appoint a woman as one of his deputies. It was a pledge, like several others, that he never honoured. Instead, women have been witnessing shocking acts of violence against them as the state has looked on, pretending to see nothing. The systematic sexual harassment of female protesters and the violence experienced not only by women demonstrators but also by ordinary women going about their business on the streets have become a daily occurrence. In the face of growing violence, however, women have remained adamant and defiant.”

    There are a lot of sarcastic comments saying, Blow me, who ever would have thought the Muslim Brotherhood would be a load of mysoginist shits when The Graun has so often told us how nice and progressive they are.

  18. john woods said,

    Guardian seems to have missed this one somehow….
    Culture Clash
    The Muff-Crazed Mufti

    by Christian Bonk

    March 20, 2013
    Share on email View as Single Page
    The Muff-Crazed Mufti

    Imam Shahid Mehdi

    Imam Shahid Mehdi—interpreter of Islamic law, respected Muslim scholar, and former lingerie salesman—is a Denmark-based mufti who managed to outrage both the left-wing Unity List Party and the right-wing Danish People’s Party in his host country by stating in a televised interview that Danish women are “asking for rape” if they walk the streets uncovered:

    All the crimes that occur against women is [sic] because they are not covered. When they are not covered, you have no respect for them.

    But Imam Mehdi chose to go a step beyond mere verbal approval of sexual assault. To illustrate his point, he decided to practice a little “Islamic outreach” on his own time to drive his arguments home:

    Mehdi is accused of pulling his penis out and chasing a 23-year-old woman around in a park in Malmö in August 2012, according to the court in Malmö.

    The details of the case read like some deranged outtake from an episode of The Benny Hill Show:

    She bent down to pick up her dog, when the man asked about her name. She just had time to respond before the man opened his pants and took his penis out, while she was still bent down so that his penis was half a meter from her head.
    “It’s refreshing to see a feminist openly admit to feeling a kinship with religious fundamentalists.”

    The woman got up and ran away, and when she looked over her shoulder, she saw that the man followed her, she told police. The man gave up his project, and disappeared into some bushes.

    The randy Imam is said to be respected for his knowledge of Islam. I’ll have to assume he was observing some lesser-known Koranic hadith that reads, “He who talks the talk must also walk the walk.” He also appears to be adept at the fashionable Western cultural practice of distracting one’s opponent by shouting “racism!” when one is caught—quite literally, in this unfortunate instance—with one’s pants down:

    The woman managed to get away, and she called the police, who arrested the man a few minutes later. During the interrogation he refused to plead guilty and believes that the accusation is based on racism because he has Pakistani roots.

    Please share this article by using the link below. When you cut and paste an article, Taki’s Magazine misses out on traffic, and our writers don’t get paid for their work. Email to buy additional rights.

    • Modernity's Ghost said,

      Salacious anti-Muslim nonsense from Taki, Pat Buchanan’s friend.

      Now any intelligent antiracist here would know that Taki is well known for his antisemitic commentary, but that the company you are in.

      From sloganistic nonsense about Islam to hard right gossip about an Iman from the deranged Taki, that’s where you’ve been led.

      What a shame that some socialists can’t see why that happened?

  19. Modernity's Ghost said,

  20. “Graffiti is Redefining Public Spaces in Post-Revolutionary Cairo” | Women, the stronger Man said,

    […] Shihadeh, an artist who lives on Cairo’s Zamalek island, has aimed much of her art at the Muslim Brotherhood’s attitudes toward women, an issue that came to the fore after candidates from the Islamist group won parliamentary and […]

  21. Sue R said,

    Assuming the Shahid Mehdi story is true (and absence of reputable report is not proof that it didn’t happen), one wonders whether he was carrying out a little bit of empirical investigation? Or may it was the dog that inflamed him?

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