• April 6, 2008

Reactions of Opposition Voices to MB Stance towards Strike

Reactions of Opposition Voices to MB Stance towards Strike

Mohamed Mahdi Akef, chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, confirmed that the group”s attitude towards April 6 strike, doesn”t prevent any of the group members from participating in the strike. He declared that the group backs any section of the society that struggles to attain its rights so long as its rights are in line with Egypt“s interests.


The group issued a statement on Wednesday around the Muslim Brotherhood”s (MB) participation in the strike staged by Al Mahala Spinning and Weaving factory workers on April 6. The group confirmed that it backs the right to stage general strikes that includes all sections of the society as it is a positive move that may help Egypt to solve its current problems, while underlining the need to protect state institutions.


However, the statement stressed that if a strike is staged in favor of a specific section of society within the context of national interests, the group sees that only members of this section should take part in this strike.


Seen by some as too loose, this statement triggered several reactions from leaders of several political powers.


MB statement has several interpretations


 Minutes prior to his detention while participating in the strike, Dr. Magdi Qorqor, the under secretary-general of the Labour Party, told Ikhwanweb that he wished the Muslim Brotherhood took part in the strike. Acknowledging that it is the biggest opposition power in Egypt and that it is shouldered with a huge mission towards the nation, Qorqor saw that the MB”s position toward participating in the strike disappointed the opposition specially that this rejection was announced shortly before staging the strike. “Had the MB announced their position earlier, we would have had sufficient time to discuss the issue with them”, he said.


He added that MB chairman”s statement had many interpretations. Qorqor does not think that the MB”s decision not to participate has any excuse, because ” the Muslim Brotherhood offered huge sacrifices to reform the country and it goes on sacrificing”, he said citing the group”s latest sacrifices in the run up to the local councils elections.


Magdi Qorqor saw that the Muslim Brotherhood”s participation in the strike is more important than the sacrifices it offered in the local councils elections.


Muslim Brotherhood blesses protests, but does not participate


Khaled Abdul Maguid, a leftist activist, saw this attitude as “a backpedal from its attitude towards tyranny”. He said also that this isn”t the first time in which the group doesn”t participate in strikes. It didn”t take part in the strike of doctors and university professors although its members take part as individuals in these sections”.


Abdul Maguid underlined the importance of unity in any public demands. He deemed unacceptable solidarity statements which bless but do not entail participation. He even made a comparison between this stated statement and another MB statement in the 2005 presidential elections when it called for not voting for tyrants without naming this tyrant.


A balance for the sake of municipal elections


Mahmoud Al Sakhawi, from the Labour Party, saw in an interview with Ikhwanweb, that the call for the strike was popular and that all sections of the society should have participated because they are general demands related to all citizens and parties. “We expected that the Muslim brotherhood will participate because it is the biggest opposition group in the Egyptian society and it is organized and has a considerable effect on the Egyptian street”, he said.


Al Sakhawi added that the MB youth participate and have a huge presence. He attributed the group”s decision of not participating to taking into consideration some calculations, specially prior to the verdicts of the military trials against MB leaders.


Abul Fotouh: there is a difference between strikes and civil disobedience


Dr. Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, a member of the Muslim brotherhood”s Executive Bureau, said in a statement to Ikhwanweb, that the Muslim Brotherhood isn”t against staging strikes. There is a difference between strikes and civil disobedience, something many can”t grasp. The Muslim Brotherhood, said Aboul-Fotouh, completely supports the right to stage strikes because it is a constitutional right that any citizen has the right to exercise wherever and whenever he wants.


As for civil disobedience, it needs time, a top leadership, a general national consensus and a popular preparation because the bad preparation for it is a disaster in the full meaning of the word and is against national interests. This is because rulers may take what they have stolen from the public money and flee, leaving the country in a state of havoc which will harm only people.


Aboul-Fotouh pointed out that the Muslim brotherhood refuses that the general strike becomes a civil disobedience. However, the group approves peacefully demonstrating for legitimate demands in a way that doesn”t harm state interests.


The Muslim Brotherhood has staged demonstrations in 11 governorates last Tuesday protesting against the regime”s repression over the group”s participation in the local councils elections, he said.


Aboul-Fotouh said also that he doesn”t agree with Magdi Qoroqr”s remark that the local councils elections are less important than the strike. He said that the main objective is participating in the local councils elections through which they can fight price hikes, repression of freedoms.