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Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Condemns UN Report To End Violence Against Women
March 14, 2013
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Egypt's ruling political party has condemned a U.N. report entitled 'End Violence Against Women'.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which won Egypt's presidency and controls parliament, says the report is "deceitful" and violates principles of Islamic law.

The report is being put together at a meeting in New York of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The goal is for it to be formally adopted tomorrow.

The meeting's main theme was the "elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls."

The Brotherhood released a 10 point critique of the report, saying "The Muslim Brotherhood calls on leaders of Islamic countries, their foreign ministers and representatives in the United Nations to reject and condemn this document."

It also called on the UN "to rise up to the high morals and principles of family relations prescribed by Islam."

The Brotherhood described the theme of the conference as "deceptive," saying the UN report is out to destroy family values - which it says is the basis of society under Egypt's constitution.

The report it says, "contains articles that clash with Islamic principles and its basics mentioned in the Quran (Islam's holy book) and in Islamic traditions."

"It eliminates Islamic values, and seeks to destroy the family... which would lead to social disintegration."

The Brotherhood called the report an infringement on the thought, culture and uniqueness of Islamic societies.

Here are some of the points The Brotherhood is opposed to in the UN report:

- a resolution to ensure all women have the right to complain about marital rape

- equal rights between men and women within the family

- a resolution to let Muslim women marry non-Muslims

- recommendations to give a woman the right to travel, work or use contraception without a man's permission

- a resolution to give a woman the right to choose her partner's gender

- recommendations to raise the marriage age and legalize abortion

The Brotherhood urged women's rights groups not to be "lured by phony calls for civilized behavior and by misleading and destructive processes."

It also criticized the report's support of homosexual rights and the equating of children born in and out of marriage.

Ten Arab civil society groups from Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority put out a statement today raising concerns about their countries' role in the UN meeting.

"Our governments are increasingly using arguments based on religion, culture, tradition or nationality to justify violence," they said.

At the start of the conference 10 days ago, an aide to Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi (of the Muslim Brotherhood) delivered a speech.

In it, she praised Egypt's new constitution for protecting women's rights and said there needs to be a "balance between the values shared by humanity, and the cultural and social particularities of countries and peoples."

Some delegates walked out, while a leading women's rights activist in Egypt, Nehad Abu el-Qumsan, called the speech "shocking".

Many opponents of Egypt's government say the new constitution restricts women's rights and is more conservative, Islamist and religiously motivated than before.

Violence against women has also been increasing in Egypt, especially during political protests.

According to Bloomberg News, volunteer groups in Cairo reported 29 assaults against women during a rally in Tahrir Square on January 25, marking the second anniversary of the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak.

As the Associated Press points out, "some suspect the attacks are an organized campaign to curb women's participation in public life after they played an integral role during the protests against Mubarak."

The state-run National Council for Women in Egypt is working on a bill to criminalize sexual harassment and assault.

Today, the council said the Brotherhood's points are "baseless" and it's misusing religion to antagonize the UN and limit women's rights.

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