Muslim Brotherhood: Women—yes, all of us—are an offense.

imagesBet you didn’t know that the word “sea” was masculine and therefore the sea is reserved for men?  Guess the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t know about “la mer.”

Anyone who is sad about the fact that the Morsi government was toppled, especially my fellow liberals from the US who think that getting rid of this man was a strike against democracy, please read this article.  This is not Fox News propaganda but the results of a study done by a venerable Muslim institution.  Despite his election promises, Morsi and his associates wanted to tele-transport Egypt to some imagined golden age when women were household slaves and breeding machines, banned from every aspect of public life.

How sad this is in a country that in ancient times practiced virtually enlightened gender politics.  Ancient Egyptian queens were revered as goddesses on earth and co-ruled with their husband-kings.  In its time, Egypt recognized quite a few women as pharaoh, including Meryt-Neith, Nitocris, Tausert, Hatshepsut, and of course, Kleopatra VII.  The jury is out on a few lesser known examples.  In Graeco-Roman times, Egyptian law was so much more favorable to women than Greek law that Greek women in Alexandria took their cases to Egyptian courts.

Yes, we should support Egyptian secularists protesting military rule, and yes, we need to support  Egypt on its undoubtedly rocky road to a more democratic society.  But no one should be fooled into thinking that Morsi and his ilk had any interest in democracy as we know it, especially for women, who will suffer immeasurable oppression if his supporters manage to reinstate him or elect someone who is in alignment with his ideas.

Fatwa: Women who swim in the sea commit adultery, should be punished

“When a woman goes swimming, as the word for sea is masculine, when “the water touches the woman’s private parts, she becomes an ‘adulteress’ and should be punished.”
– Summary of a report titled “The misguided Fatwas of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis”, as published in the Al Masry Al Youm.

Al Azhar mosque (Reuters)

A report by a committee set up by Al Azhar, one of the oldest and most prestigious Islamic universities in Cairo, to study the fatwas issued by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis reveals how Islamists view women.

The findings of the committee’s report were published in the Egyptian newspaper Al Masry Al Youm. In all, the committee studied 51 fatwas issued by the Brotherhood and the Salafis during President Mohamed Morsi’s tenure.

According to the report, “the fatwas issued by both groups (the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis) regard women as strange creatures who are created solely for sex. They considered the voices of women, their looks and presence outside the walls of their homes an ‘offence’. Some even went as far as to consider women as a whole offensive.”

Another fatwa prohibited women from “eating certain vegetables or even touching cucumbers or bananas”, due to their phallic imagery which could lead women down the wrong path.

Another fatwa directed women to “turn off the air conditioners at home in the absence of their husbands as this could indicate to a neighbour that the woman is at home alone and any of them could commit adultery with her”.

Another fatwa orders that girls as young as 10-years-old be married “to prevent them from deviating from the right path”.

Another prohibited girls from going to school more than 25km away from their homes.

A strange one said that a couple’s marriage would be annulled if they copulate with no clothes on.

Interestingly, one fatwa which made headlines all over the world was issued by the Al Azhar university which called for women to “breastfeed male acquaintances thereby making them relatives and justifying their mixed company”. The fatwa was, however, later retracted.

At the same time, some of these fatwas also sanctioned the use of women as human shields during violent demonstrations and protests.

The Gatestone Institute, in an earlier report, had said that some of the fatwas issued by the Brotherhood and Salafis during Morsi’s tenure advocated the destruction of the pyramids and sphinx, the scrapping of the Camp David Accord, killing anyone who protested against ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, forbidding Muslims from greeting Christians, forbidding Muslim cab drivers from transporting Christian priests, forbidding TV shows that mock or make light of Islamists; and forbidding women from marrying any men involved with the former Mubarak government.