Saturday, January 21, 2012

On the Other Hand, Who Wants to Return to a 7th Century Male-Female Dynamic?

A former Muslim Brotherhood sister has written a scathing account of her time in the outfit, and of the MuBros' chauvinistic M.O.:
"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.

Early in the book, Abdel Moneim condemns what could be interpreted as the Brotherhood’s exploitation of the permissibility of polygamy in Islam.

“One of the areas where the Brothers have exploited the idea of blind obedience and submission is polygamy,” she writes, adding that a brother would take second and third wives for no valid reason. “When the [first] wife complains, a session is held for her where other sisters would remind her of the importance of obedience, patience and submission to God’s will and to [the husband]’s will,” she writes.

To understand the roots of the subjugation of women, Abdel Moneim unpacks the writings of Hassan al-Banna, the group’s late founder. Here, the author summons her courage and puts forth a vehement critique of the group’s canonized leader, who is rarely questioned, even by the most vocal ex-brothers.

Banna's teachings sought to limit women to "catering to their husbands' desires and to reproduction," Abdel Moneim writes.

The book dismisses Banna's dictum that there is no need to invest heavily in girls' education and that women should be trained only to serve as housewives and mothers. Abdel Moneim feels that this sentiment is contradictory to true Islam.

“It is true that Islam says that a woman’s primary role is to raise children, but it does not say that this is her only role and that she should not do anything beyond it. Neither the Koran nor the Sunna [Prophet Mohamed’s sayings and deeds] nor the sayings of the prophet’s companions and successors barred her from learning any sciences. The matter has been left for her to decide, according to her needs and circumstances," writes Abdel Moneim.

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...
I doubt logic even enters into it. The thirst for power and the desire to lord it over others--yes; logic, alas, no.


Frances said...

Jehan Sadat's "A Woman of Egypt" is an interesting read. She is seriously critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, and not just because they were implicated in her husband's assassination.

ReluctantSerf said...

From what we read about the growing incidence of rape in Europe, not to mention the goings on in Tahrir square, Banna may have been quite accurate in portraying his people as mere animals who have little control over their impulses.

We have such unfortunates in the West as well. They manifest as left wing mobs. By and large, however, the West rose to preeminence by favoring the faculties of the prefrontal cortex over those of the reptilian brain stem.

In a sense, this distills the essence of the whole right wing -left wing conflict. The use of man's higher, reasoning faculties is by definition an individual pursuit, and therefore demands as a precursor precisely the individual freedoms so favored by the right. Conversely, a strong reliance on reptilian instincts is necessary for man to exist within a collective.