The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

A sister on the Brothers

Don't miss this review of a new book critical of the Muslim Brotherhood's attitude to women, written by a former Muslim Sister. Noha Hennawy has the story at al-Masri al-Youm:

As the Muslim Brotherhood strives to project the image of a moderate and democratic political organization, a book featuring the angry account of a former member has hit the market.

"The Memoirs of a Former Sister: My Story with the Muslim Brotherhood" is the testimony of Intissar Abdel Moneim, an Alexandria-based novelist and author. With a compelling style and sharp language, the book takes the reader on a journey exploring the internal politics of the 83-year-old organization, placing special emphasis on discrimination against female members.

Throughout her work, Abdel Moneim decries the sisters’ internalization of oppression as women are socialized in a way that compels them to accept male dominance within the organization — and the household.

The book takes Hassan al-Banna to task for his views on polygamy, women's role in society, etc. and recounts the author's experience as a MB activist.

She goes on to criticize Banna's insistence that men and women should be separated. With a scathingly sarcastic tone, the author argues that Banna’s view portrays humans as if they are mere animals who have little control over their impulses.

“You cannot by any logic perceive all people as mere female and male sex organs that roam the streets looking for the moment of intercourse like cats," the book reads. Abdel Moneim attributes Banna’s rigid outlook to his rural background.

This outlook still shapes the group’s perception of women’s roles within the organization and in the society at large. It justifies why the Muslim Sisters' division cannot operate independently from the Brothers, why no woman is admitted into the group's highest bodies, namely the Shura Council and the Guidance Bureau, and why the group will not acknowledge a woman's right to rule, according to the book.

Read the whole thing.

A good read at a time when some MB leaders have voiced opinions that women should not take part in protests (even though some women who support the MB have been at the forefront of the recent violent protests).

On this topic, you should read the work (less hostile to MB patriarchy) of my friend Omayma Abdel Latif. Here Carnegie report on the Muslim Sisters is probably the most in-depth recent thing written on the subject.