Sabah al-Sakkari, a female member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), is running for the first time in the chairmanship elections to replace outgoing chairman of the party Mohammed Mursi, the current Egyptian president.
Sakkari denied allegations that her candidacy aims at embellishing the image of the Brotherhood, frequently accused of discriminating against women.
“I will never accept that the party or the group uses me like a decoration so that people can say the Freedom and Justice was the first party to nominate a woman for chairmanship because this is against my principles,” she told Al Arabiya.
Sakkari stressed that women in the Freedom and Justice Party do play a major role and are not like many claim used as a tool to convey an image of tolerance and modernity.
“We have a political role and we are serving the country through the party exactly like men do. Women in the party are strong and will never allow anyone to strip them of their rights.”
Sakkari said she is taking her nomination seriously and that she will do her best to win through the platform she will offer.
“In my platform, I pay special attention to women and youths, whom I believe should get the chance to occupy the highest positions in the party. Women in particular are very important since the progress of any society is closely related to them. ”
Sakkari said that if she becomes the FJP chairwoman, she will not make unilateral decisions and will always consult other members of the party.
When asked whether in case she wins the chairmanship of the party, she can later run for presidency like what happened with the party’s President Mursi, Sakkari said that Muslim scholars have differed about the presidency of women.
“However, what they all agreed on is that a woman cannot be a Caliph, but there is nothing to prove that she cannot rule over one state within the Muslim nation.”
Sakkari said she didn’t mind running for presidency if members of the Freedom and Justice party agree to her nomination.
“It is also important that the culture of the society changes so that people can accept a female president.”
In response to reports that a woman from the Muslim Brotherhood has to seek her husband’s approval before assuming any political position, Sakkari pointed out the difference between approval and consultation.
“I would never run for or assume any position without telling my husband, but in this case I consult him rather than seek his permission as long as he initially approved my work in politics.”
Sakkari is a graduate of the Faculty of Pharmacy. She is married to a professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and is mother to four children. She was chairing of the Women’s Committee in the party’s Central Cairo branch.