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Banned from Traveling
Banned from Traveling
It is no longer novel news to hear that a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an activist, a leader, or even a historical figure has been forbidden from leaving the country by an administrative decision, and without a judicial ruling. Nearly not a month goes by without seeing the Brotherhood’s media apparatus moving in every direction, distributing such information to the media at large. Whether the person in question is a college student or professor, a legal activist or prominent union
Monday, September 1,2008 08:41
by Mohammad Salah Dar Alhayat.com

It is no longer novel news to hear that a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an activist, a leader, or even a historical figure has been forbidden from leaving the country by an administrative decision, and without a judicial ruling. Nearly not a month goes by without seeing the Brotherhood"s media apparatus moving in every direction, distributing such information to the media at large. Whether the person in question is a college student or professor, a legal activist or prominent union member, or even a government employee, and no matter what their travel destination might be, in most cases the ban takes place with the person not expecting to travel in the first place. In most cases, the car that takes them to the airport waits around, so that it can take them back home. On the way back, the person has only to inform a media official from the Muslim Brotherhood that the incident has taken place. The latter then completes the task. The same applies for cases of Brotherhood activists or leaders getting arrested if they meet in the same place, whether during a Brotherhood meeting or a leisure excursion, or even while celebrating the birth of a member"s child.

 

Such is the state of chronic tension between the government and the Brotherhood in Egypt, and this has become normal daily behavior that both the authorities and the Brotherhood have gotten used to. The authorities may believe that the person banned from traveling this or that time is on their way to attend a conference or a meeting of the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, or is representing them abroad. The authorities may have information that those arrested during a meeting, in a private home or at the beach, were planning some unlawful activity, such as mobilizing people for a demonstration or a sit-in. However, it appears that both sides are waiting for a battle in a more significant arena. Until then, both will seek to secure their bases, gain more supporters and try to shape the future the way that they hope. The arena might be the coming parliamentary elections, or perhaps the next presidential elections, but what is certain is that indications of its results will become clear by next year, and that each side will only enter the struggle once they are aware of each other"s strengths and weaknesses. They have been preparing for such a battle for some time now. Of course, neither side is expected to deliver the finishing blow that would guarantee complete victory, and the complete defeat of their opponents. But it is certain that one of the two will achieve a victory great enough to place the other in the background.

 

Since the mid-1990s, the Egyptian government has employed the method of directing abortive blows at the Muslim Brotherhood on a regular basis, arresting members and turning them over to military courts, to captivate the Brotherhood and keep it busy, as well as to deliver the message that the movement has no future in mainstream politics. The Muslim Brotherhood has responded to this campaign by increasing its activity to prevent the organization from fading away or becoming distant from the Egyptian political scene, while stressing on the fact that an official license to operate as a political party is not a necessary condition for political presence, activity, and participation.

 

In the latest parliamentary elections, the Muslim Brotherhood managed to gain 88 seats, which came as a big surprise for both themselves and those in power. However, history is not expected to repeat itself in the coming parliamentary elections, as all signs indicate that the Brotherhood will not obtain such a number of seats in the next Parliament. As for arresting a few of its members here and there, banning this or that Brotherhood leader from leaving the country, or refusing to allow the Brotherhood to hold its annual Iftar meal during Ramadan, an event which, in past years, it had become accustomed to host with the government"s approval. All of these are just signs that what had been allowed is now forbidden, that what used to happen will not happen anymore, that international and regional developments may lead the regime to undertake additional internal reforms, and that reform does not at all mean granting the Muslim Brotherhood the license to pursue a public and legitimate activity, as the law will always have provisions preventing it from making its way to the forefront.

 


Posted in Human Rights , MB in Arabian press  
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