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Muslim Brotherhood...From Discipline to Eradication
Muslim Brotherhood...From Discipline to Eradication
While the moderate Islamic movement is soaring high in Turkey, and indications show that it will achieve a similar soaring in Morocco, where the legislative elections will be held next week, it is taking a totally opposite course in Egypt.
Thursday, August 30,2007 22:57
by Fahmy Huweidy
While the moderate Islamic movement is soaring high in Turkey, and indications show that it will achieve a similar soaring in Morocco, where the legislative elections will be held next week, it is taking a totally opposite course in Egypt. The regime in Egypt is seemingly preparing for an all-out confrontation against the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group, the most important movement in the modern age.
 
The latest of these episodes of the confrontation has been launched this week in the information declared by the Interior Ministry accusing the group leaders of inciting to assassinating top officials in Egypt, and preparing for toppling the regime, and circulating the rumors of torturing in Egyptian prisons. This media mobilization goes in line with the ongoing sweeps of arrests against MB leaders, issuing travel bans against some of them and freezing assets of MB members described as financiers of the group.
 
In addition to the detentions, Egyptian Military Tribunal is currently trying some MB leaders of various charges now, in steps accelerated after ratifying the constitutional amendments introduced into the constitution. These amendments included totally excluding the Muslim Brotherhood and preventing it from exercising any political activity or take part in any coming elections. The amendments included a text that bans establishing parties on a religious basis, and banning even exercising any political activity on a religious basis, last phrase broadened the scope of the ban to the extent that it included banning any activity in general, from running for elections to holding intellectual seminars or establishing charities.
 
These measures allow us to say that this confrontation against the the Brotherhood Movement is the biggest of its kind since the movement was established in 1928. This is because the previous confrontations in the royal, Nasserist and Sadat eras were disciplinary and repressive at most, after assassinations committed by some elements in the Special Apparatus, leading to dissolving the group in 1949 and after president Abd Al-Nasser"s assassination attempt in 1954. the group’s repression was limited in the era of president Al Sadat who released a big number of them, but he detained some MB leaders in a big sweep of arrests in 1981 .
 
The current confrontation has crossed and is planned to cross limits. Various indications show that it is seemingly aiming at implementing an uprooting, no a disciplinary or repressive, action that aims at paralyzing the movement of group or even eradicate and give an end to it. It is beleaguering the movement through political, legal and security means in away that stops any progress that it may achieve. The text recently introduced to the latest constitutional of allowing referring civilians to the military courts has one single target: making the military justice a sword that continuously threatens The Muslim Brotherhood if it tries to cross limits imposed on its movement. This measure has been introduced to fill the hole of referring MB cases in front a civil justice that mostly acquits its members due to weak evidence.
 
There are currently 300 MB members under arrest, and there are 40 standing trial before a military court. What happens to individuals happens is also applied on institutions. Egyptian government seized schools and medical facilities established by MB members. As for the professional associations in which the Muslim Brotherhood was used to get majority, they were put under guardianship (like the Engineers Syndicate for example). Due to concerns that the Muslim Brotherhood may win in those syndicates, the elections were suspended in all professional associations (more than 20 syndicates).  Elections have been held only in two syndicates (the bar and press syndicates), because the security services were reassured that the MB penetration into them is limited in a way or another.
 
The escalation has seemingly started following the 2005 three phased parliamentary elections, when MB influence started to be big in a way that threatens the convenient majority used by the ruling National Party. Due to the fact that these elections were held in three stages, and the MB garnered 76 seats in the first two, the concerned authorities intensified their pressures and interventions in the third stage to make the Muslim Brotherhood garner only 12 seats, to raise to 88 seats the MB overall seats in the People"s Assembly. Despite the intervention, the MB’s number of seats was more than all seats garnered by opposition parties. This so called “outlawed group” garnered 88 seats while all legitimate parties (Al Waf and Tagamue) garnered only three or four seats. This situation worried the concerned authorities so much. Therefore, when Shura Council elections were held last June, no MB candidate or voter or supporter was allowed to enter polling centres.
 
In this regard, we can not ignore the role played by international pressures between 2005 and 2007. in this relatively early time, there was a repeated talk that there must be a commitment to democratization. This discourse changed later after what happened in Iraq and Lebanon and after Hamas movement"s win in Palestine. Therefore, the relative tolerance in 2005 which allowed The Muslim Brotherhood"s winning of 88 seats, didn"t allow the Muslim Brotherhood to garner any seat in 2007.
 
WHILE indications of the security bodies" concern over the winning of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 2005 People"s Assembly elections, the indications of a confrontation and clash against the group emerged a year later. The story of Al-Azhar University militias emerged in December 2006, in which some MB students carried out an athletic protest inside the campus, and some of them wore sports garments and their faces were hooded copycatting the uniform of the Palestinian resistance elements. During the protest, they displayed some karate performances which were photographed and presented in the media as armed militias, although investigation with 150 of them proved that no one of them carried a stick or even a razor. The media mobilization was curtain raiser for a crackdown based on the claim that the Muslim Brotherhood is preparing to attack the regime and change it by force, and that such paramilitaries are an introduction for this wicked scheme.
 
Why has this escalation which approaches its peak been carried out nowadays? This question puzzles many researchers who wrote many comments about this issue in independent and opposition newspapers. Most of them gave three possible justifications:
 
The First: is that the MB growth has shown it as a rival to the current regime. Some may see it as a possible substitute after president Hosni Mubarak. Therefore, the security services decided to crack down heavily on the group to paralyze its movement, undermine its structure and consequently weaken it and brings it out of the circle of expected substitutes.
 
The second: is that the crackdown is carried out because the group plans to form a political party whose proposed draft has been published by newspapers, disturbing the authorities which decided to abort this attempt.
 
The Third: Is that these blows are carried out while the issue of the hereditary transferred of rule has been raised again. Directing   such blows against the group nowadays is actually paving the way for this transfer.
 
Observers and researchers raise another question: Can really this group be eradicated?. There is a consensus that this can"t be done. The failure of previous blows against The Muslim Brotherhood during the last eighty years only highlight the MB deep rooted presence in the society. Some even said that these blows strengthen the group, at least in terms of making the public sympathize with it because it is a victim to the successive regimes.
 
There are still two important points:
The First is that The Muslim Brotherhood has never committed any act violence against authorities throughout the last thirty years. MB leadership"s approach of a peaceful participation has become a strategic attitude that actually needs care and encouragement. There is a real worry between some group leaders that frustration may incite some young men to resort to extremism and face violence with a counter violently.
 
The Second Point is that whatever our opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood"s program and performance, but we can"t deny that their thought is developing, even if it develops slowly. Experiences proved that the democratic practice is the best way to reach maturity and development of thought, making it more responsive and respective to the reality. This has been proved in the Turkish experience in which the Islamists passed into a 30 years experience in the political work before it ends with forming the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its landslide win of the elections.

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