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Muslim Woman Will Run for President of Egypt

Muslim Woman Will Run for President of Egypt

Bothaina Kamel, an Egyptian television anchor and activist, has the distinction of being the first woman to run for the president of Egypt.  Her motto, “My agenda is Egypt,” and her activist background shows that she certainly has the credentials to run as an advocate for the people in the historic September elections.

According to Abdalla F. Hassan of the New York Times, Kamel is known as “the woman who is like a hundred men” for her active role in pro-democracy rallies over the years.  She acted as a human shield for youth demonstrators and her presidential campaign focuses on “fighting the dual evils of poverty and corruption.”

She has been a strong advocate for youth, and agitated to reduce the minimum age for serving in the country’s legislature in an attempt to get younger voices into the Egyptian government.

Kamel has also been an active participant in the movement to end the sectarian violence that has caused several violent outbursts between Muslims and Coptic Christians over the past few months.

“Coptic means Egyptian. We are all one,” she said. “I am wearing the crescent and the cross.”  She was referring to the fact that although she is Muslim, she wears a cross necklace in addition to her crescent, to show religious solidarity with Egypt’s Christian minority.

Some expressed skepticism about whether Kamel has a chance to win this election.  “Usually in countries where there is no history of women’s participation to a significant level, those who come through to the rarefied senior roles tend to come through family connections,” said Nan Sloane, director of the Centre for Women and Democracy, in an article for the Guardian. “[But] anything is possible, particularly in a volatile situation. I would never say never.”

The Guardian piece, however, pointed out that many feminists say they won’t vote at all until Egypt’s constitution allows for more political gender equity.  So while Kamel’s campaign has great symbolic value, it seems like more will have to change in Egypt before a woman can be elected president.

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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8:48PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

article about a brave woman, thank you.

7:43AM PST on Mar 10, 2012

ty

5:07AM PST on Mar 10, 2012

great news

4:05PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

God bless this brave woman.

5:04AM PDT on Jun 24, 2011

@Helen yes, the niqab bothers me too. The hijab is mentioned in the Quraan (not even focused upon, rather it is only vaguely hinted in one verse out of the 604 pages of the book) Most scholars believe the niqab is not obligatory and speak out against it. It's amazing to me how many Muslims center the religion on whether you wear the hijab or not and to many Egyptian women it is their life goal after which they feel they have reached the ultimate spirituality which is not true.. Islam is much more than a piece of cloth on your head, rather it is mainly focused on how you treat other people. Most of my female friends do not wear the hijab and many of them are better Muslims than those that do...
Sorry if I seemed to preach about Islam but I just wanted to clarify the status of the hijab in Islam because alot of Muslims annoy me when they say you're a bad Muslim if you don't wear the hijab.

1:33PM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

That she is a brave woman is an understatement.

12:04PM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

@Ahmed. Thank you for pointing out that she does not wear the hijab nor niqab. That bothered me. Obviously I would want a qualified woman to be a president, especially of Egypt. But when I saw the picture it made me stop and think: Perhaps we/you do not want the promotion of this mentality. As a person holding public office your appearance is important and I would not want an intelligent woman promoting such medieaval attitudes towards women.

6:36PM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

I hope she wins! enough said!

6:08AM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

@Lesley R. This is very offensive that you would say Egyptian men would kill her just because they don't like her. What you don't know is that most of the people that support her are men. I'm an Egyptian man and I totally support a woman being president as long as she is well qualified. Yes, the sad fact is that alot of Egyptians wouldn't vote for a female president. This might be surprising to you but many Egyptian women don't plan on voting for Bothaina, and wouldn't vote for a female president just because she's a woman. By the way, the woman in the picture isn't Bothaina Kamel; Bothaina doesn't wear the hijab, let alone the niqab!

6:07AM PDT on Jun 22, 2011

@Lesley R. This is very offensive that you would say Egyptian men would kill her just because they don't like her. What you don't know is that most of the people that support her are men. I'm an Egyptian man and I totally support a woman being president as long as she is well qualified. Yes, the sad fact is that alot of Egyptians wouldn't vote for a female president. This might be surprising to you but many Egyptian women don't plan on voting for Bothaina, and wouldn't vote for a female president just because she's a woman. By the way, the woman in the picture isn't Bothaina Kamel; Bothaina doesn't wear the hijab, let alone the niqab!

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