Muslim Brotherhood Insists on Reform Marches Despite Arrests

The Muslim Brotherhood has vowed to carry on with its peaceful demonstrations for real political reforms in Egypt despite a crackdown by security forces.

“There are no red limits. Egypt is our homeland and we are keen on safeguarding its stability and security,” the group’s first deputy guide general, Mohammad Habib, told

He said the banned but officially tolerated group is resolved to practice its political rights.

“We just want to ease the current political congestion and steer the country clear of the storm,” Habib said.

Daily sufferings of the Egyptians, he added, creates a fertile ground for such violent acts that took place in Al-Azhar and central Cairo.

“The Egyptians are really the bulwark against foreign challenges and blackmail because we are all in the same boat,” he noted.

A series of blasts, mostly targeting tourists, has rocked the country recently, disturbing eight years of tranquility.

Egyptian pundits have said that growing frustration, piecemeal reforms and the current political turmoil in the region are the main culprit behind the attacks, fearing the government might exploit the situation to drag its feet on the reform process.

No Bargains

Habib dismissed media reports about “bargains” between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian government.

“If there were any bargain, police would not have cracked down and oppressed us,” he said.

The leading Muslim leader lamented the “illegal and unconstitutional” arrests of up to 2,000 members of the group.

“Such unacceptable and outdated police practices refute claims that the emergency law [in force since 1981] has been designed to counter terror and drug trafficking.

“We don’t need cosmetic changes, but concrete steps that help Egypt restore its prestigious status locally, regionally and internationally.”

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Guide-General Mohammad Mahdi Akef told the Egyptian daily Al-Masri Al-Youm on Saturday, May 7, that the arrests would not scare them off.

“We don’t fear arrests,” he said challengingly. “If we had been opportunists, the regime would not have bullied us.”

Egyptian security forces arrested Essam El-Erian, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member, at his Cairo flat on Friday, May 6, while thousands of supporters rallied for the release of hundreds of other activists detained last week.

The Muslim Brotherhood, banned since 1954, has 16 deputies in Egypt ’s 454-member parliament.

It has been championing a series of demonstrations across the country, demanding all-inclusive political reforms and the right to form a party.

On Friday, security forces confined protesters inside a mosque in the northern town of Al-Mansoura.

Tareq Ghannam, trapped inside the building, died when police fired teargas at them, his brother Sayyed Ghannam told Reuters.

An Interior Ministry statement said that Ghanem died in a stampede.

Egyptian security sources told Reuters Saturday that 135 group members were released, but more than 1,500 were still being held.