Egyptian police detain leading Islamists

Egyptian police detain leading Islamists

Cairo: Police early on Monday arrested at least 14 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s strongest opposition-yet-banned power, in a nationwide crackdown, sources inside the group said.

The arrests in Cairo include Mahmoud Ezzat, the deputy chairman of the group; Essam Erian, a leading member of the group; and their colleague Abdul Rahman Al Bar, who is also a professor of Islamic theology at Al Azhar University.

“These arrests are not justifiable,” said Abdul Moneim Abdul Maqsoud, the lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood. He added that the number of detainees could be higher as more arrests continue to be reported from other areas of Egypt. There was no immediate word from security agencies.

The latest crackdown comes less than one month after the group named its eighth chairman, Dr Mohammad Badie, a conservative veterinary professor, since it was founded in 1928.

The Muslim Brotherhood won a fifth of seats at the Egyptian parliament in the 2005 elections. Its members posed as independents because Egyptian constitution bans the creation of political parties on religious grounds. Egypt gears up for legislative elections next October and the presidential vote in 2011.