The Muslim Brotherhood is a world-wide Islamist movement dedicated to the credo: “G-d is our objective, the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, struggle is our way, and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations.” As stated on its charter and its website, the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to install a just Islamic empire and a Caliphate across the Muslim world, through stages designed to “Islamicize” targeted Muslim majority nations by all lawful means available.”
This movement was founded in Egypt almost 80 years ago, this movement has been a thorn in the side of Egyptian Government, and since the Sadat came to Jerusalem tension have been rising. Recently things have gotten even worse. Long a peaceful movement, the brotherhood has been accused of forming a militia and threatening the security of Egypt. The following is the report from MEMRI.
Egyptian Government Papers vs. the Muslim Brotherhood: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Aims Are Like the Nazis’ Aims Attacks on the Muslim Brotherhood appeared also in op-eds in Egyptian government newspapers. The editor of the Egyptian daily Al-Gumhouriyya, Muhammad Ali Ibrahim, published a series of op-eds condemning the Muslim Brotherhood. He wrote: “The fighting training, martial arts, and self-defense that the students demonstrated at Al-Azhar University revealed that the Muslim Brotherhood has a great measure of Fascism and extremism. The black shirts worn by the youths during this show of force, and their boasting, are tied historically to Fascism, Nazism, and extremism… It appears that the Muslim Brotherhood looked at history and found that the best way to express themselves was through black shirts and through resembling Fascists and Nazis, for a very simple reason: Fascism and Nazism are compatible with the Muslim Brotherhood’s aims of toppling the regime, spreading out, and using violence and blood [as a way of] resolving disagreements…“Like the Fascists and the Nazis, the Muslim Brotherhood is not interested in whether Egypt is destroyed or conquered… These inciters strive for one thing only – to create a military, or militia, parallel to the Egyptian army – [the army that has] lost many of its sons defending the precious homeland, while the Muslim Brotherhood wants [Egypt’s] sons to die in battles waged by the regional and neighboring powers, in which we have no interest [in participating]. Perhaps they [i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood] are striving to brainwash the youth and to exploit them for other aims within the country that will lead the youth only to great danger…”  Columnist for the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram Tareq Hassan expressed apprehensions about the radicalization of Muslim Brotherhood activity. About a month prior to the student demonstrations, he wrote: “The Muslim Brotherhood is not a political opposition, but a program for anarchy, takfir [i.e. accusations of apostasy against other Muslims], heresy, murder, and permitting killing in Egypt. An opposition works within legitimacy and the law, while the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to establish a state within a state, and [then there will be complete] anarchy. The [Muslim Brotherhood] Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef has begun to place himself as president of the state – while the state has a single elected president who rules according to the constitution and the law. Who is this guide who gives himself [a rank] parallel to that of the prime minister? What remains, then, in order to declare a Muslim Brotherhood state? Are we waiting for a flag and an anthem?…”  A Wave of Arrests of Muslim Brotherhood Members The Egyptian security apparatuses recently launched an extensive wave of arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members. The detainees included Supreme Guide ‘Akef’s second deputy, Khairat Al-Shatr; a member of ‘Akef’s bureau, Dr. Muhammad Ali Bishr; dozens of movement leaders; and some 180 students. Also arrested were numerous businessmen and senior movement officials in charge of fundraising in the provinces. Further, numerous businesses and publishing houses close to the Muslim Brotherhood were shut down.  The monetary damage to the movement as a result of this campaign was estimated at about half a billion Egyptian pounds, or nearly $88 million.  In addition, the Egyptian authorities blocked the Muslim Brotherhood’s English-language website www.ikhwanweb.com to surfers in Egypt.  Egyptian security apparatus member ‘Atef Al-Husseini said that the interrogation of the detainees had produced information that “some of the Muslim Brotherhood members had agreed amongst themselves to renew the organization’s activity, to revive the secret activity, and to act to disseminate their ideas, particularly in the student sector… In the meantime, the group of Muslim Brotherhood members held meetings to spread these ideas within Al-Azhar University… The Muslim Brotherhood members aspire to establish an Islamic Caliphate, to abolish the existing laws, and to replace them with what they call ‘Islamic laws’… [Muslim Brotherhood activists at the university appointed students to establish] paramilitary units following the model of Hamas, Hizbullah, the Mahdi Army in Iraq, and the Revolutionary Guards in Iran… The movement’s leaders strove to persuade the students to [wage] jihad in order to help the Muslims in the occupied countries in the Islamic world…”  Human rights organizations expressed their concern about the repressive measures being taken against Muslim Brotherhood activists by the Egyptian government. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) warned about the shows of strength by both the government and the Muslim Brotherhood. EOHR director Hafez Abu Sa’da said: “The attack of the government militias on the students, and the violence against members of the opposition, will bring about more [internal] hatred within Egyptian society…”  Human Rights Watch called on the Egyptian government to free all recently detained Muslim Brotherhood members until they were charged.  Criticism of the Egyptian Regime: The Regime is Responsible for the Radicalization in Egypt Editor of the Egyptian government cultural magazine Al-Muhit Dr. Fat’hi Abd Al-Fattah argued that the Egyptian government was partially responsible for the radicalization of the Muslim Brotherhood activity. In an article in the government daily Al-Gumhouriyya, he wrote: ‘What the black-[garbed] militias did at Al-Azhar is the natural outcome of the policy of putting out fires that has been used [by the regime] for some time now in dealing with the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement… and in dealing with all our political and social problems, with no serious attempt to draw up a plan to prevent these fires from starting [in the first place] and to deal with the roots of the problem…”  President Mubarak was also criticized for his anti-Muslim Brotherhood statements. In his daily column in the Egyptian opposition daily Al-Masri Al-Yawm, Magdi Muhana wrote: “If the Muslim Brotherhood movement is indeed endangering Egypt’s security, we must ask how [Mubarak] – as president of the country, as commander-in-chief of the military, and as head of the police and the executive authority – is permitting such a danger to exist. How did he permit Egypt’s security to be threatened by the rise of the power and scope of this movement? How did he permit [the election] of 88 MPs [belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood] to parliament?…”  The Muslim Brotherhood on the Defensive: The Attack on us is Politically Motivated With the regime’s offensive against the Muslim Brotherhood from all possible angles – security, constitutional, economic, and media – Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen and activists stated that they had no military wing and that “the athletic demonstration” by the students, for which the students apologized, had been blown out of proportion by the media for political purposes.  In an interview, Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef told Al-Masri Al-Yawm: “We have no militias at the university, and we have no information about what the students at Al-Azhar do. I am opposed to violence and to the use of force for solving problems…”  In response to President Mubarak’s statements that the Muslim Brotherhood constituted a danger to Egypt’s security, the Muslim Brotherhood issued a communiqué stating: “We are sacrificing our souls, our children, and our money for the security of Egypt… The students’ [martial arts] demonstration at Al-Azhar, which has been used as a pretext for escalation, for arrests, and for harming the economic interests of individuals, workers, and companies, is the only event in [the movement’s] history, which for three decades has been unblemished… and despite this we have condemned it and those who participated in it have expressed apologies… “To attribute danger to [state] security [to us] because we follow a religious path is puzzling, because our path is the Islamic path emphasized in Article Two of the [Egyptian] constitution… Egypt is our spirit, and its security is more precious than our own. Our goals are [Egypt’s] sovereignty and progress, and we would never endanger this. We reiterate that our hearts and our minds are open to dialogue, with members of the regime and also with opposition factions, for the good of Egypt; also, our hands are extended to cooperate with all, without exception…”  According to senior Muslim Brotherhood officials, the aim of the campaign against them is to neutralize opposition to amendments in the Egyptian constitution, as well as neutralizing potential rivals for the succession of the regime. Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef’s first deputy, Dr. Muhammad Al-Sayid Habib, said: “The aim of these arrests… is clear: [It is] to cover up the constitutional amendments that are to be presented in the coming days. It is clear that the government wants no opposition of any kind, [so it can] pass the amendments that it wants. The aim [of these amendments] is first of all to establish the scenario of the regime’s succession [by Gamal Mubarak], and the repression of freedoms and the revocation of rights.”  The Muslim Brotherhood Aims to Establish a Civil Party In late December, Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Mahdi ‘Akef announced the imminent unveiling of the platform of a new political party to be established for the first time in the history of Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood movement. Sources in the movement’s leadership said that it would be a civil party with an Islamic source of authority, and that it would also be open to non-Muslim Brotherhood members. At the same time, a senior source told Al-Ahram that the Muslim Brotherhood would not be permitted to submit a request to establish a political party to the parliament’s Parties Committee, because their movement was not recognized by Egyptian law.  The Muslim Brotherhood rejected the argument that their movement’s actions were based on religion. Further, ‘Akef explained that “the Muslim Brotherhood supports the ban on activity based on religion, race, or origin, because we believe in the [equality of all] citizens, the democracy, and the public freedoms, that are anchored in Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood activity is not religion-based, because it is a movement… that deals with [diverse] activity and that is not characterized by religious discrimination. The Muslim Brotherhood respects [Egypt’s] laws and constitution, and derives its path from the Islamic faith.”  * L. Azuri is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.
 Al-Usbu’ (Egypt), January 12, 2007.  Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), December 27, 2006. The reform will include Article 5 of the constitution, which states that “the political regime in Egypt is based on party pluralism according to the basic principles of Egyptian society, as defined in the constitution, and set out in the Political Parties Law.” Under the amendment, the following will be added: “There shall be no political or party activity or establishment of a party based on religion, race, or origin. The method of political and national work will be based solely on [the equality of all] citizens, regardless of religion, race, or origin.” Al-Akhbar, Egypt, December 28, 2006. The secretary of the National Democratic Party clarified that even though the ban on religious parties was already law, the amendment was aimed at anchoring it in the constitution and consolidating it. Al-Ahram, Egypt, January 15, 2007.  Al-Usbu’ (Egypt), January 12, 2007.  Al-Gumhouriyya (Egypt), January 25, 2007.  Al-Wafd (Egypt), November 3, 2006.  http://www.ikhwanonline.com, December 11, 2006. It should be noted that a few weeks before the students’ association elections and the establishment of the Free Students Association, a similar attempt was made following elections in Egypt’s labor unions. In that instance as well, the defeated Muslim Brotherhood representatives raised ideas for establishing parallel Muslim Brotherhood labor unions in protest against what they claimed was election fraud. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, October 29, 2006.  Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), December 11, 2006.  http://www.alarabiya.net, August 3, 2006.  Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 5, 2006.