The Brotherhood exposed

The Brotherhood exposed

The widely viewed TV drama Al-Gamaa, which follows the life of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan el-Banna, has sparked fierce controversy since it started airing at the beginning of Ramadan. The conflict has escalated to the point where al-Banna’s son has even filed a lawsuit to halt the broadcast of the remaining episodes.  

Public debate is a healthy practice. But the Brotherhood’s response to the series has been excessive, as demonstrated by their recently created Facebook page under the pugnacious title "Brotherhood Deterrence Brigades/Unit for Combating Intellectual Terrorism".

Why would an established political movement respond to a TV series in such a way, no matter what it thinks of it? Do these young Brotherhood activists realize what they’re doing?

I recall when Brotherhood-affiliated students staged a military-style parade four years ago at Al-Azhar University–a spectacle which left many, including Waheed Hamed, the scriptwriter for Al-Gamaa, wary of the group’s inclination to use violence.

Many political groups in Egypt have been targeted by smear campaigns in the past. Former President Gamal Abdel Nasser himself has been attacked in a number of propoganda films. None of this ever generated a “Nasserist Deterrence Brigade” as a response. Likewise, the Wafd Party did not form a brigade when its leaders, Saad Zaghloul and Mostafa al-Nahhas, came under public criticism before the 1952 revolution. Nor have we seen sympathizers of ex-President Anwar Sadat establish military bands to counter his opponents.  

Not a single political group in Egypt has ever created a brigade to publicly differ with its opponents. Deploying counter arguments and engaging in debate has always been the way to express disagreements. A "brigade" is more befitting for an armed resistance group, such as those fighting against the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

Ironically, one of the main criticisms against the Brotherhood, levelled by many Egyptian intellectuals and which comes across in this TV series, is that violence remains an inherent component of its ideology. But even public disapproval of such tendencies has failed to deter the group from using aggressive rhetoric against the makers of this series.

The Brotherhood, now more than 80 years old, is an archaic mega-organization that lacks political rationality. It will never serve the Egyptian people.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.