Internet media are reporting that a member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leadership has called for the establishment of a “virtue police.” According to a report on the Media Line website:
Issam Durbala, a member of the Brotherhood’s Shura council, told the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Youm on Sunday, that he supported the establishment of a virtue police, or Hisbah, which had existed in medieval Islamic societies to oversee public virtue and modesty, mostly in the marketplace and other public gathering spaces. But he seemed to stop short of advocating a force along then lines of that which operates in Saudi Arabia today under the auspices of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. It enforces a dress code, separation of sexes and the observances of prayer times. “The new police must have a department with limited authorities to arrest those who commit immoral acts,” Durbala told the newspaper. Nevertheless, liberal, secular Egyptians, who led the protests that brought down President Husni Mubarak and ushered in a new but as yet undefined era in Egypt, regard the proposal as the latest sign that Islamists are emerging as the dominant force in the country.
It should be noted additionally that according to a MEMRI translation, a recent article on the official website of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood called for establishing separate transportation for women in Egypt. Previous posts have discussed the Islamization of Gaza under the Hamas government.
It should be noted that the Muslim Brotherhood today has become a global network and that the Egyptian mother branch is not necessarily the most important part of the movement. Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi, close to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, is often referred to by the GMBDW as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide.