Brotherhood candidate vows freedom for women

Mursi says there will be "no imposition on women to wear the veil" should he win in next month's run-off elections.

May 29, 2012 21:01
1 minute read.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi

Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Egyptian presidential candidate Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood vowed on Tuesday that should he be elected, he would respect a woman's right to "work in all areas, and to choose the way they dress," AFP reported.

There will be "no imposition on women to wear the veil" should he win, Mursi told a press conference.

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If Mursi, who garnered the most votes in the first round of voting in Egypt's first undecided presidential election last week, succeeds in the run-off election in mid-June, then Islamists will hold both a majority in parliament and dominate the executive branch.

This fact has put many in the country that are wary of Egyptian Islamists' sudden rise to power on edge, as Mursi heads to face-off against Ahmed Shafiq, a former prime minister under ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

During the Brotherhood's post-Mubarak rise to power, the group has often worked to soften its image as a hardline Islamist group, saying it would not limit the sale of alcohol in Egypt's touristic areas or restrict the way women dress on the country's Red Sea beaches.

On Monday, Mursi also reached out to the nation's Coptic Christians, Egypt's largest minority group.

"Our Christian brothers, let's be clear, are national partners and have full rights like Muslims," Mursi said, and added that Copts will be able to "participate in a presidential institution."

Because the group was for years forced underground under Mubarak, who ordered mass arrests of Brotherhood activists with Mursi himself serving jail time, the Islamist party has never had the chance to flex its political muscle.

But since Mursi is competing with a man who many call a remnant of the old regime protesters sought to topple in 2011's mass protests, the Brotherhood has tried to pitch itself as the only choice for those who supported the uprising.

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