Thursday 10 May 2012

UPDATED 1: The MB And Female Circumcision/FGM

Speaking now on Egypt's CBC Channel in a "meet your presidential candidate" type of event, the FJP/MB's Mohammed Morsy was asked by a female doctor and panelist what he thought about recent calls to apparently "revise" the law banning FGM/Female Circumcision in Egypt. The candidate embarked on a long and vague answer which left a few, including the doctor herself, uncertain to a considerable extent as to his concise statement of position. But most of the people I have spoken to agree that the candidate seems to be suggesting that it should be the prerogative of the family to decide if they want their daughter to undergo it or not. When pressed further, he said it was not the role of the president to be involved in such details.

Aside from the answer itself, what is also worth noting is that in the FP roundtable discussing responses to Mona El-Tahawy's controversial piece "Why Do They Hate Us?", a spokesperson for the MB said:

"But how do we move forward? Based on these alarming figures, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has devised a holistic plan to advance women's standing in Egyptian society. First, we acknowledge that Egypt needs a cultural revolution alongside the political one. There are many practices -- not just FGM -- that must be eradicated outright, but railing against such practices will not make them disappear. Instead, what we need are sustained, nationwide campaigns to raise awareness and dissociate religion from repression of women. We also recognize that, in some cases, we cannot wait for educational efforts to take root. Both the legislative and executive branches of the state must play an immediate role. Legislation criminalizing harassment of and assaults against women must be passed, while ensuring that these measures are implemented by strict rule of law."
That previous line thus indicates the MB is against the practice, as far as I understand it. Does Morsy's answer represent a change of official position, a personal opinion by the candidate, or did we misunderstand the opinion stated on the FP piece?

UPDATE: The MB responded promptly on Twitter to users discussing the issue, including some who were sharing this post. 

In these three tweets, @IkhwanWeb says:

1- "The Brotherhood are not with Female Circumcision. What matters is finding effective ways to deal with the problem, most important of which is awareness." (View Tweet)

2- "The law already exists, and we won't annul the existing law." - Referring to the law banning FGM in Egypt (View Tweet)

3- "Yes, the answer was not clear enough perhaps due to the sensitivity of the issue. But our vision regarding circumsion is fighting it through awareness and legislation." - Referring to Mohammed Morsy's answer on the TV Q&A session. (View Tweet)

Then they go on to say:

4- "I believe the previous tweets have explained our official position clearly. Any opinions different from this position only represent whoever said them." (View Tweet)

Thus: MB is fully against female circumcision/FGM, existing law in Egypt will not be annulled, and the MB is only looking for effective ways to deal with the problem. Any differing opinion belongs to whoever said.

Let's follow up and see.

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