The Muslim Brotherhood: A Body without a Mind

The Muslim Brotherhood: A Body without a Mind

Why did the Muslim Brotherhood not participate in the April 6 Strike?

This question still begs a clear answer. It has also disclosed the size of the mistakes the group is constantly committing and has undermined its popularity and the trust the people have placed in it.

The group has refused to participate in the April 6 strike in which all other political forces have joined. And it has justified its position by saying that it was not invited to the strike and that it did not know the political orientation of the parties and forces that have called for the strike.

These are certainly ridiculous justifications, because anyone who is willing to contribute to social and political change should not wait for an invitation. He must take initiative and show solidarity with all popular demands that seek to stand in the face of political despotism.

The truth is that the group has ulterior motives for not taking part in the strike, most notably the fear to engage in an all-out war with the regime and security forces that may expose the group to an organized massacre which could adversely affect its highest-ranking leaders. It is completely aware that the regime is waiting for any opportunity to finish it off at any price and arrest its leading figures.

At the same time, the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to test the toughness of the Egyptian public and its ability to declare civil disobedience and challenge the regime, and whether there was a genuine desire among the people to confront the dire social and economic conditions they are going through. It appeared as though the Brotherhood was punishing the masses for not supporting its battle against the regime over the past two years.

The group also wanted to deliver an important message to all forces that its exclusion from any collective action would lead to failure and that it should lead any rally given its organizational weight that enables it to mobilize large numbers of members and sympathizers.

The Brotherhood”s position is indeed confusing. Although the Supreme Guide’s statement voiced support for the strike as a genuine right enshrined in all international charters, the group has relinquished this right when it refused to participate in the strike, and hence lost one of the tools through which it could have put pressure on the regime.

In spite of the draconian measures aimed at crushing the demonstrators, the strike has succeeded in achieving its goals, not only because it has wreaked panic in the government and its security agencies, but also because it claimed an inherent right and imposed a new reality that can be repeated in the future.

Had the Brotherhood any degree of political intelligence they would have participated in the strike, even led it, without incurring heavy losses. They could have told its members not to go to schools, universities and government jobs. They could have also mobilized the masses through calling on them to participate in the strike in order to improve living conditions.

The strike has succeeded and the Brotherhood has lost a golden opportunity to change the equation of their relationship with the regime. But this is the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood: they sleep when the people are awake and they wake up when the people are asleep. They are “a body without a mind.”

Khalil Al-Anani is an expert on Political Islam and Deputy Editor of Al Siyassa Al Dawliya journal published by Al-Ahram Foundation.