Dear Mohamed Badie
You and your Brotherhood have claimed that a United Nations declaration for an end to violence against women will lead to the “complete disintegration of society”. You also criticised the UN Commission on the status of women for daring to grant women sexual freedom, which would allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslims, and take their husbands to court for marital rape. You said that this would “certainly be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries”.
Are you so scared of women that you cannot allow them to have the same rights as men? What do you think this does for those who may be considering turning to Islam? Especially women? Did you consult widely across Egypt or other Muslim countries before issuing your ludicrous statement? I can be sure that you did not consult Egypt’s National Council for Women or its senior spokesperson Soad Shalaby. Because that would be giving them a modicum of recognition and in itself might undermine the image you want to portray: That of a male-dominating backward-looking society that chooses to ignore or re-interpret tenants of the Quran in a way that preserves your warped outlook on women and the world at large.
And what of Mohamed Morsi your country’s Islamist President? Did you consult him? No. Of course not. When he read your declaration, he said that he was no longer a member of your organisation. So you’ve even managed to alienate your own President.
Of course, you can try and prop up the rotten edifice of anti-women sentiment, rules and laws for as long as you can. But please don’t claim that it is in support of your culture and your intellect. A culture that denigrates half of its people on account of them being born female is one that is showing not leadership and intellect, but head-in-the-sand blind ignorance and disrespect that even the Messenger of God himself would blush at.
Take a look at countries where Muslim women have freedom and equal rights. Have they turned away from Islam? Do they disrespect their husbands? No. Instead they are building a stronger Islam and in the Colleges and Universities are acting as beacons of Islamic light, attracting many more women to consider taking the oaths and becoming Muslim. It is people like you and your Brotherhood that make women think twice about becoming Muslim. So re-think your position. Or else you may find yourself becoming increasingly isolated in the Muslim world and subject to a backlash, or perhaps back-slap, of genuine intellectual modernity and cultural enlightenment from the sex that you fear.