• MB News
  • October 11, 2005
  • 8 minutes read

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Students Press for Reform

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Students Press for Reform

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Students Press for Reform

Some 6000 students joined the pro-reform demonstration on Cairo University campus.
By Ahmed Fathy, IOL Correspondent

CAIRO, October 11, 2005 (IslamOnline.net) – Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood students demonstrated Tuesday, October 11, inside Cairo University to press for more freedoms on campus and fair student elections amid watertight security.

"We don’t want security forces on campus, we want free student elections on November 11," the students said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by IslamOnline.net.

"We want an independent and free university to bulwark the country and empower the regime against any attempt to tamper with Egypt’s security and stability," read the statement.

Wearing blue shirts and headbands, some 6,000 students chanted "We want freedom," "Security forces out," and "We want free student unions."

Some carried leaflets reading "freedom our way for reform", "Together for reform".

They were cordoned off by hundreds of security forces.

The demonstration is the second within a week organized by Muslim Brotherhood students.

On October 2, hundreds of students marched to call for democratic reforms, easing restrictions on political activities at universities and allowing free and fair student elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest opposition group in Egypt, is officially banned but, between periodic crackdowns, is often tolerated and has 16 deputies in the 454-member parliament.

Hundreds of its members have been detained during anti-government protests since May, but most have been released.

Free Polls

"We are seizing on the current political environment to press for students’ interests," Ihab Mustafa, a student leader, told IOL.

He stressed that restrictions must be eased on political activities on campus.

"We have drawn up a new student unions bylaw in cooperation with the Sawisa human rights center."

He said the present bylaw, in force since 1979, is a stumbling block in the way of free and fair student unions polls and restricts students activities on campus.

They warned that unless university administration meets their demands, they would go for self-styled voting.

"We press for free student elections, otherwise, we will hold our own free polls under the supervision of professors," Hamid Abul Dahab said.

Mustafa Haydar agreed.

"We haven’t had free elections at least since 1995 and we decided to launch a campaign earlier this month to pressure the university administration for reforms," he told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Another student said the university administration had so far refused dialogue.

"If they don’t, we will step up our protest campaign but only using peaceful and legal means," said Mohammed Imam.


Protest organizers said that a number of students were arrested by the security forces in Faiyum, Menia, Beni Sueif and Qena to prevent them from joining the Cairo University demonstration.

Female students were conspicuous by their absence in the Cairo University demonstration.

Egyptian students said that two female students were arrested by the security forces during the October 2 protest.

They added that the two were beaten and abused by security forces before they were released two days later.

Various reports have documented widespread infringements on freedom of expression in Egyptian universities.