Luckily, I have never had the need for marriage counseling, but if I did I would hope to get better advice than what passes for counseling in Egypt today. When the so called Arab Spring spread from Tunisia to Egypt the liberal media fawned over what they believed was a flowering of democracy in the autocratic nation. The same liberal media that bends over backwards not to be critical of Muslim society. President Obama remained silent and offered no support for America's long time loyal ally, Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, as his secular regime fell.
The American left falsely believed some sort of liberalization was happening in Muslim society, and held up what was a relatively peaceful transition to a democratic process in Egypt as proof this was happening in the Islamic world. Those on the right were more skeptical of what democracy might bring for those countries, warned to be careful what you wish for, and questioned just how democratic those elections were. Tunisia is no better than before, Libya is a mess that we all know about, Syria is a bloodbath, and Egypt is, well, you can decide.
Egypt had elections, and the Muslim Brotherhood's years of community outreach doing things like providing health care, running schools, and yes, providing family counseling paid off. They won power. Some might ask, "What is wrong with a group who provides all these social services? Why they sound quite liberal." The Brotherhood follows the same model terrorist organizations Hamas in Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon do. Win the hearts and minds of the community through these type programs, which are loaded with anti Western propaganda. Then recruit brainwashed members of that community to strap on bomb belts and blow themselves up attacking their enemies.
Now that the Brotherhood has come to power, it's president, who The NY Times describes as the "leader of the Brotherhood's political arm" but leaves out that this arm is connected to a terrorist body (Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981), is trying to present himself as a moderate man, one who can be trusted and is a friend to the Western world. Of course, this is just a show to keep getting billions in aid from the United States.
However, with this rise to power also comes greater scrutiny, and some of the Brotherhood's beliefs are coming into clearer public view. This brings us back to some of that community outreach the Brotherhood does, in particular it's views of women and family life. The NY Times reports on marriage counseling Brotherhood style, which is based on Islam requiring women to obey their husbands at all times;
“A woman needs to be confined within a framework that is controlled by the man of the house,” Osama Yehia Abu Salama, a Brotherhood family expert, said of the group’s general approach, speaking in a recent seminar for women training to become marriage counselors. Even if a wife were beaten by her husband, he advised, “Show her how she had a role in what happened to her.”
“If he is to blame,” Mr. Abu Salama added, “she shares 30 percent or 40 percent of the fault.”
Well, that's good to know. A woman is only 30 to 40 percent at fault for being wrongly beaten by her husband as compared to being 100 percent at fault when he rightly beats her. I would have thought that no fault percentage would be much higher, the Brotherhood is indeed moderating. More of this moderation was shown in a list of objections they just released to "a proposed United Nations declaration to condemn violence against women" and "which (the Brotherhood) formally laid out its views on women for the first time since it came to power." From The Times' report;
In its statement, the Brotherhood said that wives should not have the right to file legal complaints against their husbands for rape, and husbands should not be subject to the punishments meted out for the rape of a stranger.
A husband must have “guardianship” over his wife, not an equal “partnership” with her, the group declared. Daughters should not have the same inheritance rights as sons. Nor should the law cancel “the need for a husband’s consent in matters like travel, work or use of contraception.”
Lucky ladies in Egypt, they don't have to worry about a thing, the husband does all the thinking for them. This must be why women don't need an education there either. But, sensing that these views might disturb his Western benefactors more liberal sensibilities toward women, President Morsi's UN representative, who happens to be a woman, Parkinam El-Sharkawy, sought to distance her boss from his political party. As The Times' report continues, she didn't do a very good job of it;
The Brotherhood, she emphasized, does not speak for the president; he has resigned from the Brotherhood but remains a member of its political party. “Does any statement issued by any political party or group represent the presidency?” she asked. “It’s not the presidency’s institution, and it’s not an official entity.”
So, Morsi is a member of their party and but not a member of the Brotherhood which runs the party? He is the head of their party, but this party has nothing to do with government policy and issues statements that are in conflict with his own beliefs? What the Muslim Brotherhood does is the same as what Hezbollah and Hamas do. These are active terrorist organizations that claim to have a separate political wing which has nothing to do with them. These political parties are to be taken seriously as a negotiating partner who can't control what their terrorist wings do. But, then they expect to be negotiated with because if some type of agreement is made the terrorist wing will abide by it. This is always their promise, they can stop the terrorism if you give us what we want. And we are to believe one part does not control the other or have any connection to it? You can see why President Morsi's spokeswoman has such a hard time separating him from his political party and her explanation doesn't fly.
Ms. Sharkawy continued by saying marital rape was not an issue in Egypt. It's probably not illegal under Sharia law, so no crime, no problem. She did have a couple of things I believe some Americans can agree with. The United Nations espouses a view on abortion akin to China's one child policy which Sharkawy said Egypt didn't agree with, and that the UN shouldn't be pushing it's foreign ideas on her country. After these remarks, The Times returns to the Muslim Brotherhood marriage counselor. It gets a bit racy for Islam;
"In his seminar for prospective Islamist marriage counselors, Mr. Abu Salama justified the group’s approach to marriage by explaining that Islam also required husbands to be compassionate, just as it required women to be obedient."
"Quoting Muhammad’s injunction that a man “must not fall on his wife like an animal,” a textbook in Mr. Abu Salama’s class said Islam instructed men to engage in foreplay before sex and attend to their partner’s satisfaction."
"But Mr. Abu Salam also argued that husbands should keep their wives under tight control. “It’s the nature of the weak to overstep the required framework if she is given the space and the freedom, like children."
I'm glad to know foreplay is allowed, I was beginning to think these marriages sounded like torture. Just don't overstep that "framework" and you can avoid it, the torture that is. A women could take some comfort knowing she is only 30 to 40 percent responsible for the torture if she wasn't the one who became weak and stole a cookie from the cookie jar. But if she did succumb to the weakness (which can easily happen because women are naturally weak minded creatures, remember the whole bite out of the apple thing), that childish action brings full responsibility and a beating that fits the severity of the crime. Under Sharia, I think this legal concept is called, "The bitch had it coming, I don't care if she did it or not."
Finally, The Times' piece concludes with the closing remarks from the Muslim Brotherhood's statement that Mr. Morsi publicly didn't want to touch with a 10 foot pole;
The provisions discussed are “destructive tools meant to undermine the family as an important institution,” and “would drag society back to pre-Islamic ignorance.”
I think a good dose of that "pre-Islamic ignorance" might do Egypt some good.