Dramatic Breakthrough for Women In Egypt

Thirty-one female judges were sworn into office on April 10, 2007 in Egypt following the urging of President Mubarak for such action. There are also a handful of women serving on the Supreme Constitutional Court, which wields extensive power within the nation. Moqbil Shaker, head of the Supreme Judicial Council said, “every nation has a defining moment and this is a defining moment in the history of Egypt.”

However, conservative groups such as the Cairo Judges’ Club, headed by Yehia Ragheb, expressed disappointment. “Women must not sit as judges,” he said, “because it would be against Shariah as they would have to spend time alone with men.” Tahani El-Gebaly, the first female on the Supreme Constitutional Court, derided such claims. She pointed out, “There is nothing in the Qu’an that prevents them (women) from doing so, despite what many experts are saying.”

We return to a central issue in the Muslim world – the role and power of women. It is obvious there is a divide among Muslims, and it is this divide that is creating such tension in Turkey, which has a seventy-year heritage of secularism. We Americans have played a role in fostering this division by creating chaos in the Middle East. We forget the communist led government of Afghanistan – which we helped overthrow and get replaced by the Taliban – had established full equality for women. We Americans destroyed that opportunity for modernism because of our hysterical fear of communism. Now, we have a paranoid fear of “terrorists” which only serves to strengthen forces of extremism and hurts moderates. The situation in Iran is a vivid example of our mistakes and our fostering of extremism.
Information from Egypt Today