My New Year’s wish: May democracy and women’s rights flourish together

Date: Jan 2013

I have a dream – a new year’s wish for 2013. It is for Muslim women’s rights to flourish so that they can “shoot for the moon” as Fatima Mernissi, the Moroccan author of the “Veil and the Male Elite” advises. But this requires democracy and women’s rights to be inextricably allied – one cannot thrive without the other. Without the support of democratic values, principles and institutions– the female half of any country is handicapped, as the Muslim experience proves. And without women’s active engagement in furthering democracy, democratic principles and institutions promoting equality and justice are, by definition, crippled – a nation cannot be effectively democratic for half of its citizens.

As Egypt approaches the second anniversary of the Tahrir Square revolution; the Morsi presidency transmits dual messages. “We want everything to be Islamic….” in all ways from the president to the drainage systems, countered by “We feel to be alone in the sea is not good for Egypt” or the region.