Amr (center), 28, plays with the youngest of her three siblings in a friend's house in New Cairo. A graduate from the School of Law in Cairo, she doesn't work in order to spend time with her children, because, she explains, "I believe my role as a mother is much more important than my job." Amr joined the Muslim Brotherhood eight years ago, after getting married. She is adamant in saying that -- contrary to the beliefs of outsiders -- the organization is extremely democratic. "We are consulted for every big decision," she says. "Evan if I'm at home, there will be always someone from the organization coming to ask my point of view on the main topics."
The Brotherhood, which was founded by the Egyptian schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928, is perhaps the most prominent Islamic revival movement in the world today. In Egypt, the movement was violently suppressed under President Gamal Abdel Nasser and banned but tolerated under President Hosni Mubarak, who used fear of an Islamic bogeyman to ensure Western support for his regime. Now, on the eve of the country's first elections following Mubarak's fall, the Brotherhood is poised to become one of the most dominant political and cultural forces in Egypt. But its name aside, many women play active roles in the Brotherhood -- and vigorously defend the organization from allegations that it is a misogynistic or unrepresentative organization.