Monday, October 10, 2005

Egypt: Islamic sisters advance

Egypt: Islamic sisters advance

airo’s women now overwhelmingly wear the hijab (more than 80% of them), not least among the trendy boutiques and cafes with European names in upwardly mobile Mohandesin or leafy, affluent Zamalek. Not even the most secular challenge the role of religion. Dr Hoda Sophi, the only woman we interviewed who did not cover her head, is an economist and specialist in gender planning at the state-run National Council for Women. She says: “What worries me is the stereotyping of women. It comes from traditional culture. That’s the real problem, not the hijab or Islam. We’re trying hard to clarify the real essence of Islam, and separate it from tradition.” Omaima Abou Bakr is an academic and co-founder of the Women and Memory Forum, a non-governmental research centre that focuses on gender issues. As “a feminist with qualifications, an Arab Muslim feminist”, she is able to bridge the divide between secular and Islamist women: “A divide that still exists even if it has been overshadowed by the current obsession with democratisation.” But the greatest changes are happening among Islamist women, now touched by a gentler, more progressive “new Islam”. Dalia Salaheldin, 35, is a journalist at Islamonline (IOL), a pioneer Arabic/English website started in Cairo in 1999 (1). She began to cover her head at university, against her family’s wishes. She is passionate about the work she does: “I’m not here just as a job; it’s my life choice . . . IOL is trying to show the reality of Islam, which has been distorted for years. I think that tradition has obscured religion. And I blame Muslims themselves for that.”


At October 10, 2005 2:54 AM, Blogger John Sobieski said...

Islam is like a fog. It creeps in and begins slowly engulfing the mind until the person can't see the reality surrounding them. Here she says 'it's not Islam at all', it's those darn old 'traditions'. She forgets those traditions have been woven into 'Islam' and have been approved, nye commanded in the Hadiths and Sharia jurisprudence.

Islam is one screwed up cult.


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