In an article on the official website of the Muslim Brotherhood, Iman Isma'il called for establishing separate transportation for women in Egypt. Isma'il said she planned to propose her initiative to bus drivers, and then bring it before the Egyptian government as an official campaign.
Following are excerpts from her article:1
For more from MEMRIon the Muslim Brotherhood, visit http://www.memri.org/subject/en/193.htm.
"'Vehicles of all kinds, of a special and distinct color, with a sign that says "For Women Only," in which no man will touch us. We will not [have to] shout ourselves hoarse trying to get them to clear the way so that we can board or alight. We will not [have to] fight with anyone refusing to clear the way. Reasonably priced [transportation ensuring us] complete respect.'
"The above is not an imaginary scenario or the dream of someone who has lost her mind, but the hope of many of the girls in Egypt, who suffer more and more [when using public] transportation in the country. The realization [of these hopes] has become something simple and attainable since the January 25 Revolution.
"I had an idea for a campaign called 'Transportation for Women Only.' This idea [can surely] be implemented within a few days, because all it needs is for a group of girls [across the country] to make clear and special signs saying 'For Women Only' and attach them to some vehicle – after they present the idea to the driver and convince him that it will not cause him [financial] losses, but might even bring him greater profits, since there is a chance that girls will jump at the idea in an unprecedented way… If the idea starts as a grassroots [campaign] and spreads, it will be possible to appeal to the minister of transportation to propagate the idea and implement it officially.
"Until the idea of such a campaign spreads throughout the country, here are some suggestions for you [women], so that you need not sacrifice your modesty if forced to use mixed transportation:
1. "If you are forced to sit in the rear seats, put your bag on the seat beside you until [another] girl boards. Then smile at her and clear the seat beside you for her. Obviously, she will come and sit next to you.
SUPPORT OUR WORK
2. "If you cannot avoid having a man sit next to you, place some divider between you – your bag, a book, a wallet, or any other separation. The man might wonder at the divider you placed between the two of you and express amazement or ridicule, but ignore all this. Do not be embarrassed and do not try to remove the divider or justify your position. If matters reach a point where he asks you to remove it, tell him, with all due respect, 'I am sorry, but this is the maximum [I am willing to allow].'
3. "During the ride in the vehicle, keep yourself occupied with anything that will distract you from those around you – reading the Koran or a book, asking forgiveness [from Allah], contemplating or thinking deeply, [and so on].
4. "If you want to get off at your stop, do not relinquish your right to alight with modesty. [Insist] that anyone in your way get off [first] so that you can pass without touching a man...
5. "Keep from sitting between two men, no matter who they are, because this might put you in a very embarrassing situation in which you will be unable to take any measures of security... Otherwise, ask them to sit next to each other and sit in the third seat.
6. "If you must ride a minibus or a public bus, which I do not at all recommend, except in very few circumstances, [you must]:
a) "Try to schedule [your trip] for a holiday, when [public transportation] vehicles are empty, or during off hours, such as early in the morning.
b) "Board at the first stops, so that you will have room to sit, and get off at the last stop, without rubbing against any men in the aisles.
c) "[If you have nowhere to sit,] get off in the middle of [the bus line], but insist that all the men standing in your way get off [first]. In many cases, you will face resistance, but insist that they get off. Tell them you do not have enough room to pass between them, that they must get off quickly, and that it is only a matter of a few moments. Allah willing, you will find someone honorable among them who will tell those around him to get off and make way for you.
d) "If your salary enables you [to buy two tickets], try to sit by the driver and take up both [front] seats for yourself. What a relief it will be not to rub against any men. Give yourself a rest from all the suffering you have experienced [in the past] by keeping the proper distance from any man.
7. "You must first and foremost pray to Allah to protect you and guard you... As long you take all [necessary] measures, pray to Allah, and rely on Him, it is impossible that Allah should bring shame upon you...
"Finally, know that guarding your modesty is a very important thing, so never take it lightly, no matter what."
1 www.ikhwanonline.com, March 21, 2011.