Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Muslim Sisterhood and Female Voting

The teaser for this CNN article, written by Shahira Amin, reads:
"The Muslim Sisterhood -- female division of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood -- has traditionally carried out charitable works. But after the revolution, it is venturing into political activism. Will it help change the organization's image?"
After reading this teaser, I couldn't help but make comparisons between the emergence of the Muslim Sisterhood and United States happenings, particularly the women's suffrage movement and modern debates between the intersection of religion and law. This article talks about how the Muslim Sister hood might be able to change the policies of the Muslim Brotherhood, the larger, well-known organization of which the Sisterhood is a part. According to the article, female members of the Sisterhood support Sharia but also advocate for reform.
One of the members, Manal Ismaeil, gave the following illuminating quotes:
"Justice, freedom and equality for all are the principles advocated by Sharia. There is no room for old penalty laws in our modern societies," she says. "Laws ruling that women who commit adultery must be stoned or that those who steal must lose their hands cannot be enforced in this day and age. Everything must evolve with time ... that is the movement's motto. Those who don't reform get left behind."
The reminds me first of the suffrage movement because many advocated for women's suffrage in the U.S. on the grounds that it would somehow clean up politics. In many ways, that is what these women seem to be promising to do. As the article indicates, it is far to early to tell what the impact of the Muslim Sisterhood will be, but regardless of whether or not the women end up changing the face of the party, it's exciting to see doors of political access opened up to them.

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