(photo credit: Reuters)
The chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize committee has dismissed concerns that one
of this year’s three recipients, Tawakkul Karman of Yemen, represents a party
directly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Thorbojern Jagland told
reporters in Oslo this weekend that he disagrees with the “perception”
widespread in the West that the Brotherhood is a threat to
“There are many signals that that kind of movement can be an
important part of the solution,” he said. “We have included the Arab Spring in
this prize, but we have put it in a particular context.
“Namely, if one
fails to include the women in the revolution and the new democracies, there will
be no democracy.”
Karman, 32 and a mother of three, is a leading member
of Islah (Reform), Yemen’s main opposition movement. The movement is split into
three wings: a tribal confederacy led by the head of the powerful Al- Ahmar
tribe; a political movement that operates under the Muslim Brotherhood banner;
and a religious branch linked to the worldwide Salafi movement.
of these is led by Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, a Sunni religious scholar and former
adviser to Osama bin Laden who is considered a terrorist by the US.
2003, the last time the country held legislative elections, the Islah party took
23 percent of the vote. Karman’s selection represents the first time a Muslim
Brotherhood member has been singled out for the award.
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Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee also shared in this year’s prize, the winners
of which were announced Friday.
Following the announcement, Ikhwanweb,
the official Muslim Brotherhood website, posted on its Twitter feed: “Yemeni
Muslim Brotherhood member Tawakkul Karman wins Nobel Peace Prize.”
2004, shortly after joining Islah, Karman appeared in public for the first time
without a niqab, or face-covering veil, which she said is not dictated by the
strictures of Islam.
The following year she founded the group “Women
Journalists Without Chains,” which pushes for greater freedom of expression and
female integration in Yemen, a deeply-conservative country and the Arab world’s
poorest, where twothirds of women are illiterate.
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