UN call to end violence against women slated by the Brotherhood
Egyptian women shout slogans against President Mohamed Morsi's government at Tahrir square. (AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA)
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A United Nations call to stop violence against women has been slated by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Friday for “violating Shariah (Islamic law) principles.”
The Brotherhood, Egypt’s ruling party, said the declaration agreed on by Muslim and western nations on to set out an international code of conduct for combatting violence against women, would lead to the “complete disintegration of society.”
“This declaration, if ratified, would lead to complete disintegration of society, and would certainly be the final step in the intellectual and cultural invasion of Muslim countries, eliminating the moral specificity that helps preserve cohesion of Islamic societies,” the Brotherhood’s statement claimed in an online statement on their official website.
The Brotherhood said the U.N. statement undermined Islamic ethics by calling for women to work, travel and use contraception without their husbands’ permission.
The group also denounced the statement’s call for sexual freedom, granting equal rights to homosexual people, and allowing wives full legal rights to take their husbands to court for marital rape.
A spokesperson for Egypt’s National Council for Women, Soad Shalaby, was angered by the Brotherhood’s remarks. “How would this declaration lead to a disintegration of society? On the contrary, it will lead to women’s integration within society,” she told the British newspaper.
“It is only a misinterpretation of Islam that creates these kinds of statements,” she said. “It goes without saying that Islam never encourages violence against women. On the contrary, it gives them rights.”
On Friday, Iran, Libya, Sudan and other Muslim nations agreed to language stating that violence against women and girls could not be justified by “any custom, tradition or religious consideration.”
Western nations, particularly from Scandinavia, toned down demands for references to gay rights and sexual health rights to secure the accord after two weeks of tense negotiations between the 193 U.N. member states.
Some 6,000 non-government groups were in New York for the Commission on the Status of Women meeting. Cheers and wild applause erupted when the accord was announced in the U.N. headquarters late Friday.
Michelle Bachelet, executive director of U.N. Women, said it had been an “historic” meeting. It was announced straight after that Bachelet would be leaving her post. She is expected to return to politics in Chile where she has already been president.
Iran, the Vatican and Russia and other Muslim states had formed what some diplomats had called “an unholy alliance” to weaken a statement calling for tough global standards on violence against women and girls.
They had objected to references to abortion rights and language suggesting that rape includes forcible behavior by a woman’s husband or partner.
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