"Under Islamic sharia (religious law), a woman cannot be head of state because it is one of the duties of the position to lead Muslims in prayer and that role can only be carried out by men," said the fatwa carried by leading state daily Al-Ahram. "If by political rights, we mean the right to vote, stand as candidate or assume public office, then the sharia has no objection to women enjoying them, but a woman cannot serve as head of state. "Women can stand as candidates for parliament or the consultative council, in so far as they can reconcile their duties with the rights that their husbands and children have over them."I'm afraid this AFP article rather misses the point when it ends with the following paragraph:
But in a country where the Muslim Brotherhood is the main opposition group, social pressures still limit women's political role.This implies that the MB is behind the growing conservatism of regime clerics, even though women's representation has steadily dropped under Mubarak (partly because he removed quotas in 1987) and the ruling NDP did not give much if any backing to female in the last elections (whereas the admittedly also bigoted MB fielded one female candidate). It is becoming increasingly clear that the Mubarak regime and the NDP has its own Islamo-conservatives, and in some ways they are worse than the MB. Just look at the recent uproar in the NDP over Farouq Hosni's veil remarks, the agitation of "clash of civilization" issues, and Mubarak's own pronouncements over Shias' loyalty to Iran. Who will rid us of these turbulent priests?