The Muslim Brotherhood movement has for the first time named a woman to run in parliamentary elections, reported The Associated Press, quoting one of the group members.
The movement also expressed readiness to accept Coptic Christians as candidates in the November election of the People's Assembly, said Ali Abdel-Fattah.
"Islam does not prejudice men against women, and our nomination of a woman to run in the election is a practical application of the fact that women are half of the society," Abdel-Fattah told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Unlike militant groups such as al-Gamaa al-Islamiya, or Islamic Group, and the Jihad, the Brotherhood rejects violence as a means to impose strict Islamic law in the country, said the AP.
But the Egyptian government maintains that the Brotherhood has links with these groups.
The Muslim Brotherhood was banned in 1954 after an alleged attempt on the life of late Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser. The government of President Hosni Mubarak has tolerated the movement with occasional campaigns of arrests, the last in 1995 when police detained 270 members before parliamentary elections. Twenty Brotherhood members are now on trial before a military court, added the agency.
Despite its outlaw status, the 72-year-old Brotherhood has an organized hierarchy and a political platform that includes pledges to end government corruption.
Abdel-Fattah said the female candidate, Jihan Abdel-Latif el-Hafnawi, will be among some 80 candidates the party is planning to name for the 455-seat parliament.
Each will run on an individual basis and not on party affiliation.
El-Hafnawi, 48, is a university graduate who is engaged in social causes. She is the wife of Ibrahim el-Zaafarani, another Brotherhood leader and secretary-general of the doctor's syndicate in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria. He spent three years in jail after the 1995 crackdown, Abdel-Fattah said.
Abel-Fattah said the Brotherhood movement will cooperate with other opposition parties and even with the candidates of the ruling National Democratic Party, said the AP.
"We will open our hearts for anyone, man or woman, from the opposition, the government and the Copts on the basis of each one's role in serving the country," he said - Albawaba.com
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