Mohamed Montasser, media spokesman of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, said the group is going through a historic phase on both the organizational and political levels, making internal and work-related changes so it is more able to face up to the challenges of the July 3, 2013 military coup.
In an interview with an Anatolia (news agency) reporter in Cairo, Montaser said there is in fact a difference of views on some issues within the Muslim Brotherhood, which he described as a "diversity" disagreement, adding that the current leadership of the group "is already trying to accommodate all the ideas posed by young and old members, as well as all true patriots.
On January 24, 2015, the Muslim Brotherhood appointed Mohamed Montaser, a code name for a young leader of the group banned by current regime authorities, as its media spokesman, to express its views and political positions.
Montaser played down the likelihood of a split within the Brotherhood, adding: "As long as people converge on the groups’ clear principles, there is no fear for the unity of the group. Organizational structures and methods of action are there to serve the goals. They are chosen, changed – they evolve according to conditions and circumstances".
The Brotherhood’s spokesman mentioned some of the reasons that caused differences, including "vision differences between the leaders, on how to read the scene and how to get out of crises; and differences between generations, environments and backgrounds, as well as the security precautions taken by the group in order to protect its members and leaders, which caused frequent loss of communication between organization blocs; not to mention the repeated arrests of members of the group’s leadership".
On rumors about the Brotherhood setting up a temporary bureau to manage its affairs until the election of new Shura Council and Guidance Bureau, Montaser said: "This is a temporary measure, established by the group’s regulations. The current leadership has full powers to manage. The completion of the group’s various bodies (Shura Council and Guidance Bureau) is necessary. In the continued absence of its leadership, the group must produce new leaders in an appropriate and orderly manner. This is something that has always been happening within the group".
Disagreement among the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership started in mid-May 2015, and revolved around the group’s position on the peaceful approach against the ruling regime.
Regarding the groups’ vision of scene, on the Egyptian arena, the group’s spokesman said Egypt "is in a state that is almost similar to the atmosphere just before the January 25, 2011 Revolution… The difference is that Egypt is now living a real revolutionary situation… and the continuing brutal oppression, murder, corruption and impoverishment accelerate the popular uprising at all levels".
Montaser said the Brotherhood, which he described as "civil, popular and revolutionary" is a part of any real movement against the military-appointed government, and that the group will cooperate with all patriots to expand the Revolution into the more segments of the Egyptian people and work on freeing popular will.
The group’s spokesman attacked states and regimes (which he did not name) for their support of the current regime in Egypt, saying: "Some international powers are still showing commitment to Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi, or at least do not have an urgent desire to change him now, in light of his offerings of great economic and security-related concessions so he is left in power".
In a year and a half, since taking office in June 2014, the military-led regime in Egypt, under the leadership of Al-Sisi, has caused and witnessed repeated shocks, on the security and economic levels, that forced a number of supporters of the regime to criticize it sharply and publicly.
Montaser condemned the military junta ruling Egypt as a gang of criminals, with military officials treating citizens on this basis. They blackmail them, or promise security and economic prosperity that they never honor. Through these, and other manipulative tactics, they recycle themselves to illegitimately remain in power, taking advantage of local and regional changes, as does Bashar Al-Assad in Syria.
"But there is no way this will continue for long. Free people are capable of completing their revolutions and ousting despots."
The Muslim Brotherhood spokesman said the heavy and relentless security crackdowns, since the military coup two years ago, in addition to the extrajudicial killings and hounding of opponents, affected – but did not stop – the revolutionary movement against the coup.
There has been a serious re-evaluation of the past period, in order to rid the movement of negative issues. Now, in the past month, there has been a noticeable new rise in revolutionary action, with new segments of Egyptian society joining anti-coup activities. Moreover, the group has approved a series of revolutionary actions, demonstrations are only one part of it."
With regard to the so-called "realignment" of political opposition groups before the anniversary of the January 25 (2011) Revolution, Montaser said the Muslim Brotherhood stands steadfast in support of "any sincere calls seeking to restore the democratic gains of the Revolution: freedom, social justice and human dignity, while ensuring criminal putschists receive fair and prompt punishment, the coup is ended, and Mohamed Morsi (the first elected civilian president in Egypt) is reinstated as the President representing popular will. This will can freely choose to effect any changes through established democratic processes; thus renewing Morsi’s legitimacy or electing a new president, freely – without overbearing military guardianship or perverse interest-group pressures".
Rejecting any possibility of reconciliation between the Muslim Brotherhood and the current regime, Montaser said: "This will not happen. We do not put our hands in the hands of a criminal gang… We will not compromise on the Revolution or the martyrs, prisoners and detainees. The group and other patriots will not lend legitimacy to this regime, even if it cost us our lives".
Montaser further said that death sentences and severely harsh verdicts against President Morsi and the group’s Chairman Badie as well as other Brotherhood leaders and members were "an attempt to pressure the group into accepting the coup as a fait accompli… Messages from the military junta – in this regard – are clear. The group deals with those in a serious decisive manner".
The Muslim Brotherhood’s spokesman warned of the seriousness of the deterioration of the economic and security situation in the country, noting that "replacing this illegitimate ruling regime has become inevitable, for each and every patriotic Egyptian, not only the Muslim Brotherhood".
Montaser accused the current regime in Egypt of creating violence, by terrorizing citizens, suppressing opponents who have begun to lose faith in democracy, or forcing people to use violence to defend themselves against regime repression.
Refuting regime claims that the Muslim Brotherhood uses violence, Montaser said that the group is not an armed movement, nor a regular army, but currently "describes itself as a popular Islamic movement that manages revolutionary struggle to reject the coup and the military rule regime, and works to strengthen the society and to make state institutions conform fully to the will of citizens and the rule of the law and Constitution".
According to Montaser, the group believes that Sisi and his regime are "implementing a scheme to destroy Egypt, and damage its national security, isolating Sinai (north-east of Egypt), displacing its people, persisting in the impoverishment of Upper Egypt (south of the country), and empowering businessmen and the generals over the poor people, in addition to fabricating crises with neighboring Arab states – in occupied Palestine, Libya and Sudan.
"Sisi’s failure is very obvious in the crisis of the Renaissance dam (which Ethiopia is working on the Nile River, the main source of water in Egypt), also in the demarcation of the maritime border in order to serve the interests of the Zionist entity, in helping Al-Assad regime and Russia exterminate the Syrian people, and in the sale of the nation’s resources to the UAE and Western countries."
On the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and the USA and Saudi Arabia, at the present time, spokesman Montaser pointed that the group is monitoring the evolution of US political performance and its strategic direction to reduce its direct presence in the region, allowing other regional powers to expand their influence there.
As for Saudi Arabia, Montaser said: "We do not antagonize anyone. We want everyone to play their part in this historical moment the nation is going through. A strong and stable Egypt, under wise democratic rule, is a guarantee for Arab nation stability and security".