Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Moderate Voices

Last Thursday I spoke to an Egyptian woman, veiled and in her 40s. She lives in Gisr El Suez and works as a beautician in Heliopolis. She's a typical working class Egyptian, who I felt could offer an interesting perspective on the September elections. Only a few days before, on the 6th of June to be exact, the following headline had grabbed my attention in an oppositional newspaper called El Fagr: 60% for the Muslim Brotherhood. 25% for the Salafists. 15% for the Infidels. A headline, that suggested the majority of Egyptians would opt for conservative Islamic governance. The paper had a sensational tone to it, raising questions around the credibility of this prognosis.

But, the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood in the next parliamentary elections is a question not only on my mind. So what do Egyptians in the street think? I decided to ask the beautician what she thought of the Muslim Brotherhood. I've probably got an in-built stereotype about the type of woman that would vote for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Unexpectedly, she told me if the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, everything would be haram (forbidden). They'd impose a strict dress code on women and men and everything would be forbidden. This would be haram and that would be haram. To my surprise, she wasn't in favour of the Muslim Brotherhood.

It turns out she represented a moderate Egyptian voice and I was rash in my assumptions. But only time will tell which direction the moderate Egyptian voices will take Egypt.

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