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THE POSITION OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ON WOMEN AND CHILDREN – ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUE OF THE FJP’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION PROGRAM 2011

December 15, 2011

Egyptian women, Copts and Muslims, joined in the 25 January Revolution to change their social, economic and political life to the better. Photo credited to AFP/Getty Images

Women perhaps get the worst deal from the Islamists, including Muslim Brotherhood, in Egypt. This is not because the Islamists are particularly kind to the Christian Copts – those also get a very sour deal from them. But the Copts, however vulnerable they are, are still a strong, vocal community whose voice reaches the echelons of power within the international community, though admittedly often ineffectively. The Muslim Brotherhood, in particular, know very well that they can’t seize power in Egypt without the  acquiescence or support of the West; and so they are very keen to project a propagandist image of tolerance to Christians, however deceptive it may be in actual fact.

Islamists cannot treat the Copts as “theirs”, nor would the Copts, or the international community, allow them to do so. However, they see Muslim women as their own “possession”; their own “property” which they should be allowed to deal with according to their Sharia law, and that neither women themselves nor the international community should have a say on how women are treated inside or outside households in the male-dominated Egyptian society. The international community, despite having high standards of how women should be treated, such as explicitly stated in the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),[i] and despite the pro-women rights strong statements from many politicians,[ii] seems to have abandoned women in Egypt, and other Islamic countries, to their fate.[iii] Egyptian women and Copts have often heard that human rights are universal, inalienable and indivisible; and yet it seems that they cease to be so when one is dealing with predominantly Muslim societies.

 

One cannot exonerate Egyptian women from their own fate, though. The women rights movement in Egypt is weak and can easily be intimidated. This is understandable to some extent in a society that uses religion as a tool of oppression. However, one would expect the women of Egypt to organise better, branch and link-out with other human rights groups, and be more vocal. The Islamists in Egypt cannot keep oppressing women in Egypt if women keep shouting loud enough.

 

 

I intentionally ignore in my study the Salafists who, compared to the Muslim Brotherhood, are more honest; and, because of this, more raw and crude in the way they present their position. The Muslim Brotherhood, however, have resorted to the art of subterfuge.[iv] While the Salafists present political Islam (Islamism) as it is, Muslim Brotherhood don’t do that – they use deception to trick us and the world into accepting them as a moderate group that is pro-democracy and keen about protection of human rights in general, and those of the Copts and women in particular. But it is easy to expose their subterfuge – and this is nowhere easier than in the field of women rights. There is a fundamental weakness in the Muslim Brotherhood’s position on women – Ikhwan[v] simply lack a genuine faith in the fundamental rights and freedoms of women, in their equal dignity and worth; and believe that woman, compared to men, are defective in reason and religion (morality). We shall examine the Election Program (for the Parliamentary Elections 2011) of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, and try to analyse it in order to understand more of their position on women and their rights. While doing that, we shall get to know also about their views on children rights.

The FJP’s election program is available in both Arabic and English. As usual with the Islamists, the English version, which is a poor translation of the Arabic version, is deliberately doctored to conceal some of the shocking statements one can delineate in the Arabic original. We shall point to this when necessary, and give the right translation.

The English version of the FJP Election Program (which the reader can find here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/73955131/FJP-Program-En)[vi] is a 45-pages long document. The word “women” has been mentioned 23 times in it, mainly in two parts where women rights were discussed:

  1. Part II (Freedom and Political reform). This part has three sections in it. The third discusses “the fundamental political principles espoused in the program”;[vii]  and the first part of that section discusses “the principles of liberty, equality and equal opportunities”.[viii] It is under this subsection that the Muslim Brotherhood talk, inter alia, about women rights.
  2. Part IV (Integrated Development). The Program discusses women rights in this part under the titles: Human Development; Making the Egyptian Citizen; 1. women, 2. the family as the child’s first incubator.

A. Women in Part II of the FJP’s Election Program

I herein simply copy the relevant section, and then discuss it underneath:

1. The principles of liberty, equality and equal opportunities

 

Our elections program seeks to grant citizens the freedoms they deserve, to preserve the fundamental rights of every Egyptian, and change all practices or legislation that challenge or restrict these freedoms or violate these rights. Freedom is God’s gift to all, regardless of colour, sex or belief, and it is a pre-condition of Taklif (accountability, obligation and responsibility according to capacity) and one of the greatest objectives of Sharia (Islamic law). For, indeed, Sharia grants humans all forms of freedom, especially freedom of belief, with which a human is to take responsibility for his choices. “There is no compulsion in religion” [Quranic Chapter 2 al-Baqarah: 25].

From this perspective, full freedom for the Egyptian people is a profound principle and a fundamental right. Hence, FJP representatives seek to:

1. Safeguard, for every Egyptian, fundamental rights and freedoms – indispensable in any advanced society and in the framework of genuine religious value system – as well as political and social freedoms – indispensable for the exercise of rights and improvement of communities.

The most important of these rights and freedoms are: freedom of opinion and expression, the formation of political parties and NGOs, meeting and demonstration, mobility and travel; freedom of trade union affiliation; and professional, labor, student and public activity as well as free transparent elections; and also freedom from all forms of oppression, tyranny and discrimination. We will work to enact legislation safeguarding freedom in all its forms, to include it in education curricula, and publicize it in all different media as well as in mosques and churches.

2. Guarantee non-discrimination among citizens in rights and duties on the basis of religion, sex or colour.

3. Ensure women’s access to all their rights, consistent with the values of Islamic law, maintaining the balance between their duties and rights.[ix] [x]

The Muslim Brotherhood, like all Islamists, not just in Egypt but across the world, are characterised by intellectual poverty and cowardice. As their thought is riddled with contradictions, which emanate from the fundamental tension between their political thinking (that is based on Sharia) on one hand, and reason and modernity on the other, they present their views in a very confused way, simplistically hoping that by combining two contradictions together no one will notice the illogicality of it all. The more they want to practise subterfuge, the more they get bogged down in their confusion and intellectual dishonesty.

As always, they start with deceptive statements like “Our elections program seeks to grant citizens the freedoms they deserve, to preserve the fundamental rights of every Egyptian, and change all practices or legislation that challenge or restrict these freedoms or violate these rights;” or “(We) Guarantee non-discrimination among citizens in rights and duties on the basis of religion, sex or colour;” while all the time not really meaning them.  Then they introduce their caveat, which is always something like “(the fundamental rights and freedoms are guaranteed) in the framework of genuine religious value system” and that they should be “consistent with the values of Islamic law”. But they use all that in a very subtle way, particularly when they address English readers. So, when they address specifically women rights, they tell us in Arabic that their FJP representatives will seek to:

“ضمان حصول المرأه على جميع حقوقها بما لا يتعارض مع قيم الشريعة الإسلامية ، وبما يحقق التوازن بين واجباتها وحقوقها”

This they translate in the English version of their Program into:

“Ensure women’s access to all their rights, consistent with the values of Islamic law, maintaining the balance between their duties and rights.”

This is an inaccurate translation. One cannot help but to come to the opinion that this is specifically designed to mislead and cover up the restrictions they put on women rights. A more honest and accurate translation should be something like the following:

Ensure that all women get their rightsAs long as these don’t clash with Islamic Sharia

And as long as they are balanced against their duties.

ضمان حصول المرأه على جميع حقوقها

 بما لا يتعارض مع قيم الشريعة الإسلامية

وبما يحقق التوازن بين واجباتها وحقوقه

As it is evident from the translation, the last two clauses set serious restrictions and limitations on women rights. The rights of women, which the Muslim Brotherhood tell us they will ensure “all women get” are curtailed by two things:

–          First, the dictates of Islamic Sharia which we know are not consistent with what the world knows as “women rights” in our modern age – rights that form part of the International Bill of Human Rights.

–          Second, the “duties of women” as perceived, and prescribed, by the Muslim Brotherhood, and all male-dominated conservative societies. A woman’s rights must be balanced against these.

It is abundantly clear that the Muslim Brotherhood do not see women rights as natural and inalienable. Their rights must be restricted by Sharia and their duties in society; duties which are in themselves dictated by Sharia. As in all other areas of life and polity, whether we are talking about fundamental freedoms, human rights, constitution, democracy, etc., all must be circumscribed by Islamic law. But we know that already – what is shocking, perhaps to some, is that the Muslim Brotherhood are going at great length to hide this seemingly embarrassing fact, all in order to deceive, while all the time believing in it, and conspiring to translate it into positive law to rule Egypt by it.


B. Women in Part IV of the FJP’s Election Program


When we come to Part IV, we learn about the real intention of the Muslim Brotherhood, and their policy towards women and children. The Election Program starts with these words: “Here is our vision for the role of women in Egypt, and their rights and duties, as well as our vision for the development of youth and children sectors.” It then adds: “The FJP has the greatest respect, appreciation and support for women’s role as wives, mothers and makers of men; and aims to better prepare them for this role.” It is this “women’s role as wives, mothers and makers of men” that the Islamists see as the “duties” of women that any women rights must be balanced against, and restricted by.

But it is only when one comes to the subsection “The family as the child’s first incubator” that we know about the full vision of the Muslim Brotherhood for the place of women in Egypt. The whole subsection is characterised by demagoguery, cheap shots and allegations of international conspiracy and treachery by the Egyptian advocates of women and human rights. So they say:

“The family is the oldest institution on earth. It’s also the first incubator for breeding and upbringing of humans. To realise the importance of focusing on the construction of the family unit as a means for making and shaping the good Egyptian citizen, let’s look at the outcome of the previous decades of exposure systematic corruption implemented by several parties, especially the National Council for women,[xi] the National Council for Motherhood and Childhood,[xii] and a whole list of civil society organisations that receive foreign funds from suspicious sources. Those were helped along down that slimy slope with a package of corrupt laws passed not due to public demand, but were the result of international dictates imposed on us by international conventions signed under the previous regime.” [xiii]

Two international conventions that form part of the International Bill of Human Rights appear to come specifically under the Muslim Brotherhood fire:

  1. The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1979.[xiv] The CEDAW was signed by Egypt on 16 July 1980 and ratified by it on 18 September 1981.[xv]
  1. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which was ratified by the UNGA in 1989.[xvi] It was signed by Egypt on 5 February 1990 and ratified by it on 6 July 1990.[xvii] Egypt, however, had a reservation in respect of Articles 20 and 21, which it had made upon signature, and confirmed upon ratification.[xviii] Article 20, is in fact one of the greatest articles in the CRC – it is concerned with the child who is “temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment”. The article adds that such a child “shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State,” which “shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative care for such a child.” Such care, the article clarifies, “could include, inter alia, foster placement, kafalah of Islamic law,[xix] adoption or if necessary placement in suitable institutions for the care of children.” Furthermore, “When considering solutions, due regard shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child’s upbringing and to the child’s ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.” Article 21 talks about the responsibilities of States Parties “that recognize and/or permit the system of adoption” and that they should follow certain measures to ensure that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration. So both Articles 20 and 21, although they talk about adoption, mention it only as one of the various ways of care, which include also the Islamic kafalah, and do not make it compulsory on State Parties to legalise adoption. The Egyptian government explained its reservation with respect to all the clauses and provisions relating to adoption in the CRC in the following way: “Islamic Shariah,[xx] (which) is one of the fundamental sources of legislation in Egyptian positive law, does not include among those ways and means (that provide protection and care for children)[xxi] the system of adoption existing in certain other bodies of positive law.” By making such a reservation, Egypt’s rulers of the time displayed weak leadership in the face of irrational Islamic opposition. The reservation as we have seen was totally unnecessary, misplaced and disingenuous as there is nothing in the CRC that would make adoption compulsory on state parties or obligatory on the Muslims of Egypt. Egypt’s reservation was, however, withdrawn on 31 July 2003, which angered the Islamist demagogues.[xxii]

Talking about the CEDAW, the FJP’s Election Program says simply: “Thirty years ago, Egypt joined an international convention for women called the ‘Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)’ although this Convention controls the most private of the marital relationship details”! There is of course nothing in the Convention that talks about or “controls the most private of the marital relationship details”. The FJP, by propagating a lie, and trivialising the important issues that the CEDAW deals with, appeals to the emotions of its followers and try to provoke their oriental and religious susceptibilities.

This characteristic demagoguery of the Islamists in Egypt reaches its highest pitch when the FJP next discusses the CRC in its Election Program:

“Do any members of our great public know that Egypt is a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which allows a child to choose the family to live with? Do Egyptians realise that they are obliged to accept homosexuals and treat them in the best and kindest way possible, in compliance with those agreements?? Not to mention the legalisation of adoption in ways strictly forbidden in Islamic law?!”[xxiii]

The Muslim Brotherhood, neglecting the great articles of the CRC, and the noble objectives it wants to achieve to improve the conditions of children across the world,[xxiv] seem to be rather concerned about three matters, according to their interpretation of the CRC: a. that the CRC “allows a child to choose the family to live with”; b. that Egyptians will be “obliged to accept homosexuals and treat them in the best and kindest way possible, in compliance with those agreements”; c. that it enforces “the legalisation of adoption in ways strictly forbidden in Islamic law”. We have already seen how the scaremongering about Article 20 and 21 in the Convention, and that they force State Parties to legalise adoption of children, is not based on any facts. As of the cheap shot related to homosexuality, there is nothing whatsoever in the CRC that is related in any way to encouraging homosexuality or treating gay and lesbian people “in the best and kindest way possible” – the place for that legitimate cause of treating homosexuals fairly is certainly not the CRC.  The Muslim Brotherhood’s reason behind their objection to allowing “a child to choose the family to live with” is not very immediately clear. However, they must be referring to Articles 9.3, 12 and 14.1 of the CPC; which I will reproduce underneath:

Article 9

3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests.

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

Article 14

1. States Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Now, it is important to remember that the CRC defines a child as “every human being below the age of eighteen years” (Article 1).[xxv] It also stresses the importance of assessing the child’s age and maturity before giving the views of the child due weight (Article 12.1). It is difficult, knowing the troubles created by Islamists in the past, not to think that the objections of the Muslim Brotherhood are not related to, and based on, the case of the Coptic twin boys, Andrew and Mario – a case that caused a bit of a stir in Egyptian society in the recent years.  Andrew’s and Mario’s father, Mr Medhat Ramsis, converted to Islam earlier in order to obtain an easy divorce from his wife, Mrs Camilia Lutfi. By conversion to Islam, he also hoped to take the boys into his custody away from their mother, and convert them into Islam against their expressed will; a practice which Islamic Sharia would allow. The mother, however, took her case to the Egyptian Court of Cassation, which ruled in her favour on June 15, 2009. The ruling was widely thought to have been influenced by the CPC. This ended a 5-year legal battle over the custodial rights between her and her ex-husband, but angered the Islamists of Egypt, since their Sharia dictated that the boys should have been taken away from their ‘infidel’ Coptic Christian mother and given to the custody of their now Muslim father, who followed “the best of religions”, Islam. As minors, Andrew and Mario should have also been forced to take that religion notwithstanding their refusal to do so, and their wish to remain Christian.[xxvi]

No one can miss the real meaning of the FJP’s opinion on the CRC. In it their fundamental opposition to the rights of women, children and Copts; and their lip service to guaranteeing of religious freedom; all come together. And they can always add a bit of their anti-homosexual rhetoric, as they address their prejudiced followers, to any debate about human rights and freedoms. In this way they hope to win all arguments.

Having set their vision for women and children of Egypt, the FJP announce to us their promises:

  1. They will abolish the National Council for Women and also the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood, which they accuse of acting as “the intelligence arm of the international players in Egypt”.
  2. They will withdraw from the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to achieve “complete independence for the Egyptian state”, and so that Egyptian policy “stems from the inherent pure values of the Egyptian people, not from some international agenda”.[xxvii] By these “inherent pure values of the Egyptian people” they of course mean the Islamic Sharia.

In summary – this is the Muslim Brotherhood promise for Egypt and the world: let us have less and less of women and children rights, and more and more of Sharia.

The status of women and children rights in Egypt is recognised by many to be one of the worst, as is the case in many other Muslim societies. Polygamy;[xxviii] the easy right of the husband to repudiate his wife or his wives at any time and at his unilateral discretion (Egypt’s divorce rate amongst Muslims is over 50%);[xxix] the husband’s excessive marital power over the wife; spouse abuse and domestic violence; the high number of street (homeless) children who are neglected by both society and state; the high incidence of physical and sexual child abuse – these are but some of the huge social problems in Egypt. At least some of these problems stem out from what remains in application of Sharia Law. Rather than its demagoguery and intellectual dishonesty, the Muslim Brotherhood should have faced these issues and confronted them head on if they were really moderate and progressive. But in place of that, we see them wanting to apply more of that which had caused the problem in the first place and planning to make Egypt withdraw from international conventions and treaties that form part of the International Bill of Human Rights.

One cannot read the FJP’s Election Program without coming to the conclusion that the Muslim Brotherhood’s position on women as it is in their political Manifesto is patronising, discriminatory and insulting. Beyond that, one can easily identify their demagoguery, superficiality, subterfuge, contradictions and intellectual dishonesty.

The women of Egypt, as indeed its free men, must expose the dangerous intentions of the Freedom and Justice Party in regard to rights of women and children in Egypt. As for the Coptic nationalists, we said it before and we repeat it now, we stand in one trench with the women of Egypt in their fight against oppression. An Egypt which mistreats its women will not treat its Coptic Christians better. There is a nexus between the fate of Egyptian women and that of the Copts – it has always been.

—–

How to cite this article: Dioscorus Boles (15 December 2011), THE POSITION OF THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD ON WOMEN AND CHILDREN – ANALYSIS AND CRITIQUE OF THE FJP’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION PROGRAM 2011, https://copticliterature.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/the-position-of-the-muslim-brotherhood-on-women-and-children-analysis-and-critique-of-the-fjps-parilamentary-election-programe-2011/ 


[i] More on CEDAW within the text of the article.

[ii] See, e.g., Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, who has been a strong advocate of women rights word-wide, pushing for women rights in Egypt on two different occasions:  on March 8, 2011 – Clinton: US to Push for Women’s Rights in New Mideast Democracies http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Clinton-US-to-Push-for-Womens-Rights-in-New-Mideast-Democracies-117604514.html and then on December 6, 2011 – Clinton to Egypt: ‘Respect Rights and Democracy’  http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2011/December/Clinton-To-Egypt-Respect-Rights-and-Democracy-/

[iii] Bernard Lewis, writing in 2002, in his What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response, explains this: “The struggle for women’s rights proved much more difficult, and the outcome of that struggle is still far from clear. The European powers, who used their influence and even their armed forces to impose the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of non-Muslims, showed no interest in ending the subjection of women. Nor is there much evidence that either the Middle-Eastern reformers or their European mentors were concerned about this issue. Even the imperial powers, in this as in most other respects, pursued cautiously conservative social policies, and took care to avoid any changes that would mobilize Muslim opinion against them and bring them no advantage.” Page 77 Phoenix; p. 2004)

[iv] For more on the Islamists’ subterfuge, read my article:  THE ISLAMISTS IN EGYPT ARE EGYPT’S TROJAN VIRUS AND THE BALLOT BOX IS ONLY THEIR TROJAN HORSE INTO TROY https://copticliterature.wordpress.com/2011/12/08/the-islamists-in-egypt-are-egypts-trojan-virus-and-the-ballot-box-is-only-their-trojan-horse-into-troy/

[v] Ikhwan is the other name for Muslim Brotherhood. It means Brothers in Arabic – Muslim Brothers.

[vi] The reader can access the Arabic version here: http://www.hurryh.com/Party_Program.aspx

[vii] The other two sections are, “characteristics of the state” and “the nature of the political system”.

[viii] That section has many other subsections that include: “independence of the judiciary”; “free and fair elections”; “accountability, responsibility and questioning authority”; “decentralized local government, and impartiality of the administration”; “safeguarding citizenship rights, and the maintenance of national unity”; “revitalizing the role of individuals and civil society”.

[ix] There are two more FJP objectives added to this section, but they are not directly relevant to women rights. I herein copy them for information:

4. Enact legislation which criminalises nepotism and favouritism, and provide practical procedures that guarantee equal opportunities.

5. Support and promotion of political pluralism as one of the assets of the political process, and establish the rules of partnership between the state and civil society organizations to carry burdens of rejuvenation and development of the homeland. (Election Program; p. 12).

[x] Election Program; p. 12.

[xi] The National Council for Women was established in 2000 (via Presidential Decree no. 90, 2000). You can read its constitution, including mandate and objectives, here: http://www.ncwegypt.com/

[xii] The National Council for Childhood and Motherhood was established in 1988 (via Presidential Decree no. 54, 1988; and was amended via Presidential Decree no. 273, 1989). You can read its constitution, including mandate and objectives, here: http://www.nccm-egypt.org/e3/index_eng.html

[xiii] Election Program; p. 24.

[xiv] You can find the full text of the CEDAW here: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw.htm (English) and http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/0360793A.pdf (Arabic)

[xvi] You can find the full text of the CRC here: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm

[xviii] See: http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en#8 Articles 20 and 21 of the CRC read as thus:

Article 20

1. A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance provided by the State.

2. States Parties shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative care for such a child.

3. Such care could include, inter alia, foster placement, kafalah of Islamic law, adoption or if necessary placement in suitable institutions for the care of children. When considering solutions, due regard shall be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child’s upbringing and to the child’s ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.

Article 21

States Parties that recognize and/or permit the system of adoption shall ensure that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration and they shall:

(a) Ensure that the adoption of a child is authorized only by competent authorities who determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures and on the basis of all pertinent and reliable information, that the adoption is permissible in view of the child’s status concerning parents, relatives and legal guardians and that, if required, the persons concerned have given their informed consent to the adoption on the basis of such counselling as may be necessary;

(b) Recognize that inter-country adoption may be considered as an alternative means of child’s care, if the child cannot be placed in a foster or an adoptive family or cannot in any suitable manner be cared for in the child’s country of origin;

(c) Ensure that the child concerned by inter-country adoption enjoys safeguards and standards equivalent to those existing in the case of national adoption;

(d) Take all appropriate measures to ensure that, in inter-country adoption, the placement does not result in improper financial gain for those involved in it;

(e) Promote, where appropriate, the objectives of the present article by concluding bilateral or multilateral arrangements or agreements, and endeavour, within this framework, to ensure that the placement of the child in another country is carried out by competent authorities or organs.

[xix] For Kafalah, which is a much inferior system to adoption, see Kafallah; Fact Sheet Noo. 51 by the International Reference Centre for the Rights of Children Deprived of their Family (ISS/IRC); International Social Service (ISS): www.crin.org/docs/Kafalah.BCN.doc

[xx] Adoption is prohibited in Islam under Sura xxxiii.5,37. The story about how that has come to be, which is related to the marriage of Zaynab bint Jahsh to Muhammad, can be read in W. Monetgomery Watt’s Muhammad, Prophet and Stateman (Oxford University Press; Oxford; 1961); pp. 155-159.

[xxi] The Egyptian Government’s reservation actually lies when it says, “the Shariah (enjoins) the provision of every means of protection and care for children by numerous ways and means.”

xxii Egypt’s reservation which it made was upon signature of SEDAW reads as follows:
“Since The Islamic Shariah is one of the fundamental sources of legislation in Egyptian positive law and because the Shariah, in enjoining the provision of every means of protection and care for children by numerous ways and means, does not include among those ways and means the system of adoption existing in certain other bodies of positive law,
The Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt expresses its reservation with respect to all the clauses and provisions relating to adoption in the said Convention, and in particular with respect to the provisions governing adoption in articles 20 and 21 of the Convention.”

For declarations and reservations to the Convention on the Rights of the Child by all States Parties, including Egypt, see: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc-reserve.htm

[xxiii] Election Program; p. 24. The question and exclamation marks are theirs.

[xxiv] Amnesty International says that, in general, the CRC calls for:

–          Freedom from violence, abuse, hazardous employment, exploitation, abduction or sale

–          Adequate nutrition

–          Free compulsory primary education

–          Adequate health care

–          Equal treatment regardless of gender, race, or cultural background

–          The right to express opinions and freedom of though in matters affecting them

–          Safe exposure/access to leisure, play, culture, and art.

See: http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/issues/children-s-rights/convention-on-the-rights-of-the-child-0

[xxv] The Article adds, “unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”.

[xxvii] Election Program; p  25. They talk about reviewing these two international conventions and then abolishing them through a referendum.

[xxviii] A Muslim woman is bound to monogamy, while a Muslim man may have as many as four wives at once.

[xxix] See the FJP Election Program; p. 4. The Program admits that the divorce rate is high; but, incorrectly identifying the underlying causes, adds: “Divorce rate exceeded 50% of marriages, because of poverty, unemployment and notoriously corrupt personal status laws that led to the distraction of young people away from marriage.” There is no talk about the Sharia rules that make it in the power of the husband to divorce his wife with much ease.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2011 7:51 pm

    Hi.
    Very interesting and well researched post.It was very enlightening to read this.
    The Sharia Law was made to guide those who stray or deviate from Islam back on the path of Islam.
    How Islam looks upon Women could be illustrated by the following verse:

    Volume 1, Book 9, Number 490:
    Narrated ‘Aisha:
    The things which annul the prayers were mentioned before me. They said, “Prayer is annulled by a dog, a donkey and a woman (if they pass in front of the praying people).” I said, “You have made us (i.e. women) dogs. I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away for I disliked to face him.”

    • Alex permalink
      December 21, 2011 5:21 am

      This is not a verse. What do you mean by Book 9? Number 490?

  2. December 16, 2011 5:07 am

    It is soooooooooooo good!
    I had to “steal” it… (As is!)

  3. December 19, 2011 10:02 pm

    Thought-provoking and thoroughly researched. Thank you.

    Before actively supporting the revolution in #Egypt (via Twitter and other forms of behind the scenes activism), I asked “Where are the women?”. I wanted to make sure women were supportive of the goals of the revolution, and it wasn’t driven by fundamentalist religion of *any* type. The last thing I would wish on my sisters in any part of the globe is to live under the oppression of a political regime that thinly veils its oppression and quest for power beneath religious rationalizations.

    You can imagine my dismay at watching things play out in such a way that the Muslim Brotherhood has moved from saying they were not interested in politics (remember that?) to mobilizing their extensive social network to dominate the electoral process.

    ANY government is legitimate only if it respects the rights of ALL the citizens, especially the minorities (women, religious minorities, lesbians and gays, etc.). Every human being has a fundamental human right to be able to live without fear and with equal protection under the laws in their home country.

    • Dioscorus Boles permalink
      December 19, 2011 10:26 pm

      Thank you, my dear. It is sad to look at women rights in Egypt now and find that they are less than what they had been several decades ago. In the 1919 Revolution, which I think was the noblest Egyptian revolution, women shared conspicuously, and the revolution led to their emancipation, which was symbolised by them abandoning the ‘hijab’. All politicians then were embracing modernism and liberalism. The 2011, on the other hand, despite the so many great women who shared in it, is characterised by a regressive attitude towards women, which has been made obvious from as early as March 2011, thanks to the Islamist factor. The birth of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928 has been a disaster in Egyptian politics – they, together with the Military, remain the main threat to Egypt’s nascent democracy and progress.

      We agree that our objective is an Egypt that is civilian, secular and democratic – an Egypt that treats all its people equally without distinction based on sex, sexual orientation, religion or colour. The Copts of Egypt, who suffer from religious oppression, stand shoulder to shoulder with all minorities who are oppressed in Egypt, and call for equal treatment and respect for all. We particularly point to women and the Nubians here. They are, with Moderate Muslim men, are our natural allies in our fight for a better Egypt.

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