• Reports
  • October 31, 2005
  • 3 minutes read

Muslim Brotherhood Tech-Savvy in Egypt Polls

Muslim Brotherhood Tech-Savvy in Egypt Polls

 The slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood in the upcoming elections.
By Mohamad Gamal Arafa, IOL Staff

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is getting tech-savvy in its preparations for the parliamentary elections in November with candidates posting their platforms on the Internet and launching an online radio to reach out to all cross-sections of Egyptian society.

Dozens of Web sites carrying the names of the candidates or the cities or constituencies they are vying in are streaming online, displaying audio or video materials for the parliamentary hopefuls.

In the northern city of Alexandria, Muslim Brotherhood candidates have launched an online radio called “Sama” to be their mouthpiece in the Mediterranean city.

The radio broadcasts interviews with candidates and lay people, who speak their mind out and express the high hopes they are pinning on their favorites.

The elections will be held on three stages starting from November 9 and ending December 7.

The Muslim Brotherhood has 16 deputies in parliament, which is dominated by ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) with more than 90 percent of the 454 seats.

Ten Egyptian groups including liberals, leftists and the Kefaya (Enough) protest movement joined forces on October 9 to fight the NDP in the elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood is part of the alliance but, unlike the nine other groups, its candidates will not stand on a single opposition list.

No Longer Taboo

A file photo of a mass rally by Muslim Brotherhood supporters. 
The Muslim Brotherhood is officially banned in Egypt but, between periodic crackdowns, is often tolerated.

Hundreds of its members have been detained and released during anti-regime protests since May.

But the Egyptian reform drive, which picked up steam with the country’s first multi-candidate polls in September after decades of a one-man show, has encouraged Brotherhood candidates to go public and hold mass rallies nationwide.

And for the first time since 1953, when the group was banned, the Muslim Brotherhood candidates are running in the lections with their original two swords and the Noble Qur’an slogan, which dates back to 1928.

In the past, the group’s candidates used to stand in the elections as candidates of the Islamic current. But now the Muslim Brotherhood title is no longer a taboo.

The Muslim Brotherhood candidates, meanwhile, are toning down their famous slogan “Islam is the solution” in a bid to allay fears of Egyptian Christians, especially after criticism from Egyptian liberals, intellectuals, politicians and the government.

In their rallies and seminars, particularly in predominantly Christian areas, they pledge to protect and serve the interests of people of other faiths as stipulated in Islam.

Ironically, an NDP candidate in the northern city of Al-Mahla Al-Kubra resorted to Islamic-oriented slogans to face the Muslim Brotherhood’s soaring popularity in his constituency.