RECOMMENDED READING: “The Muslim Sisterhood”


The Financial Tiumes has posted an article titled “The Muslim Sister” which looks at the women’s section of the  Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. The article begins:

October 26, 2012 7:15 pm Sondos Asem was five years old when Hosni Mubarak’s security men broke into the family home after midnight, dragged her father from his bed and locked him up in jail for 18 months. The memory would scar her for life. ‘We were young, we were scared, it was a traumatising experience for women and children,’ she recalls. Her father’s sin was membership of the political bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood, the outlawed Islamist movement that tormented Egypt’s dictatorial regimes for decades before helping to bring it to an abrupt end in last year’s revolution. Belonging to a Muslim Brotherhood family imposed a life of clandestine activity and intrigue that forced Asem to hide her identity for much of her teenage years. Then she saw her professional ambitions constrained by employers’ reluctance to associate themselves with Islamists. ‘All repressed societies are careful what they say or to whom,’ she says. To Asem’s relief, those days are now gone and the Brotherhood is rapidly consolidating its political power in the Arab world’s largest nation. Her father’s publishing house is back in business and she, even at the young age of 25, is an active member of the women’s branch of the Brotherhood – an arm of the movement whose activism has long been overshadowed by the men.” Asem studied English and communications and now edits the Brotherhood’s English website. She also travels with the organisation’s political party, Freedom and Justice (FJP), as its leaders attempt to promote their cause as a credible democratic project to a west long sceptical about Islamists’ intentions and fearful that they are on their way to imposing their Islamist vision. We meet in her parents’ marble-floored living room in Dreamland, a compound on the outskirts of Cairo where houses are encircled by manicured lawns and golf courses. It is an upper-middle-class haven that feels a world apart from the dust and chaos of the capital. Asem looks younger than her years and she dresses more fashionably than other Brotherhood women, her body wrapped in a long checkered skirt and a fitted black jacket over a buttoned white shirt, her headscarf shorter than a typical sister’s. Like other Muslim sisters, however, she is coming out, openly sharing the contribution of women in the more than 80-year history of the Brotherhood. It is a tale that not only sheds light on the inner workings of a secretive community but also helps explain its political potency.

Read the rest here.

A post from July 2011 reported that the Muslim Sisterhood had held its first conference in 60 years.

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