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Egypt’s salafists looking for ‘good’ women candidates

The Nour party wants women with professional experience who are committed to wearing the Islamic head veil

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Besides having a “good reputation,” Egypt’s Salafist Nour Party only accepts women who already wear the Islamic head veil as candidates for the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections, its head told a local newspaper on Wednesday.

“The party has put forth a set of conditions for women’s candidacy just like how it did for men, which includes good reputation, committed to wearing the hijab, and has enough professional experience,” Youness Makhioun told the Arabic version of Ahram Online.

Another Nour member, Salah Abdulmaaboud, said his party has “no objections” to pushing women forward as candidates, saying a list with no women “will lose.”

He said the party will include a number of women as per the female quota law, be they women who are already members of the party or through other political alliances.

Nour candidate Marwa Ibrahim al-Qamash made headlines in 2011 when she put her husband’s face on her campaign posters instead of hers. Some other women in the 2011 election campaign illustrated posters with roses rather than their own photos.

The Nour party won 20 percent of seats in the 2011 parliamentary elections, when Islamists won the bulk of the seats.

While Nour is the only prominent Islamist party to join other political forces after the toppling of the Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammad Mursi in July 2013, a verdict is expected this week in a lawsuit that calls for the disbanding of all political parties with a religious platform.

The lawsuit was filed by Tarek Mahmoud, legal advisor of the Popular Front against the Brotherhoodization of Egypt, established in 2012 after the Muslim Brotherhood came to power.