Egypt Islamists want ‘family’ not women’s council


A women’s conference organized by the dominant Islamist bloc in the Egyptian parliament has called for a council for families to replace the existing National Council for Women, a state-owned daily reported on Friday.

The conference, held Thursday on International Women’s Day, also condemned the 1978 U.N. convention against gender discrimination saying it was “incompatible with the values of Islamic sharia” law, the Al-Ahram newspaper reported.

The Freedom and Justice Party conference called for the formation of a national council for the family to “truly express the complementary roles of men and women,” the newspaper said.

The current National Council for Women has been heavily criticized for its association with former first lady Suzanne Mubarak, whose husband, veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, was overthrown in a popular revolt a year ago.

The Freedom and Justice Party, political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, says it does not endorse gender discrimination, although the Brotherhood argues women should not be allowed to rule the country.

The party is the dominant bloc in both houses of parliament after a sweeping victory in a multi-phase general election that began in November. Women hold just two percent of the seats in parliament.