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Egypt Muslim Sisters Rise with Conservative Vision

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CAIRO (AP) — The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt has brought with it a new group of female politicians who say they are determined to bring more women into leadership roles — and at the same time want to consecrate a deeply conservative Islamic vision for women in Egypt.

Women’s rights have sprung to the forefront of the debate in Egypt as members of an Islamist-dominated assembly wrestle over the writing of a new constitution for the country. The power of Islamists, who dominated parliament elections last winter and who seized the presidency with the election this year of the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi, has worried secular and liberal Egyptians who fear they will restrict rights of women and minorities.

The women of the Brotherhood say the fundamentalist group is doing more than any other political movement in Egypt to promote women in a political scene where men have always held a near total monopoly. Confident and articulate, the women say they are pushing for a greater voice within the Brotherhood itself and its political party, the Freedom and Justice Party, where the leadership is entirely male.

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