The Strong Return of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

The Strong Return of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt[1]


By Mohamed Krishan 2005/11/23



The strong return of the Muslim Brotherhood to the formal political arena in Egypt through the first and second rounds of the General Elections , and through there expected gains in the third round, could only mean that in the world of politics and intellectual conflicts, neither repression, nor imprisonment, nor tracking down could end a political movement that is deeply rooted in society , strongly committed to its clear identity, and insistent to carve out a place in the political map. This is said regardless of possible disagreement or agreement with that current’s political thoughts, a lot of which actually need to be discussed away from any alleges of possessing the absolute truth or being the only speakers in the name of Islam.


The other indication this victory so far raised, is the failure of the policy of  implanting fear among people by the Arab regimes, including the Egyptian, with regards to the coming of the Islamic alternative to power. These regimes have consistently tried to persuade people that with all their flaws and corruptions, they are still better than the Islamists who will “ turn the country into military barracks of bearded men and veiled women.” However, the failure of this strategy is not mostly  owed to an over appeal of the  Islamist project-the ideas of which are still vague and sometimes even fearsome- as much  as to people’s protest and frustrations from the status quo and the persons responsible for it.


On the other hand, the political maturity of the Muslim Brotherhood should be praised as they decided not to file candidates in all the district constituencies. They did not present an equally large number of candidates as that presented by the ruling National Democratic Party. Instead they decided to keep a medium profile that did not violently upset the regime as the Front of Islamic Salvation of Algeria for example did in the beginning of the 90’s. Or as the Tunisian Islamic renaissance party did in 1989 when they received 17 % of the votes but nevertheless did not get any seat in the parliament due to the elections law that was applicable in Tunisia back then.


Of course we speak here about a certain brand of Islamic movements that are distinguished from others by their willingness to recognize the ballot boxes, the peaceful means, and democratic rotation of power despite all the obstacles that lead to some of them to loose faith in peaceful ways. We do not speak here of the movements that judges the society as infidel or that adopts only bloody tactics of violence. The line should be drawn here between those two trends as many deliberately try to blur the line of demarcation between them in order to justify repression against both altogether This demarcation is a well established and settled notion now for most of the prominent research and decision making centers in many  Western countries a present.


Thus, it should no longer be a surprise that after serious and balanced field studies,,  a prominent research center such as the Brussels based Crisis Group called upon the Egyptian government to legally recognize the Muslim Brotherhood. Many other centers now share the opinion that the only way to contain the violent Islamic current which reject any settlement or dialogue, is to recognize  moderate political Islamic trend.


Containment however, does not mean necessarily total eradication. The integration of moderate political Islamic groups in say Jordan, Morocco, or Yemen , has not totally eliminated the extreme Jihadists.  However, healthy thinking and learning out of experience showed that “protection is better than treatment;” that is of course well studied, flexible, and democratic protection. Absolutely, not the kind of “protection” that sees that it is best to annihilate all the different trends and variations of Islamist in order to really enjoy  unobstructed democracy.    

[1] The articles and statements that are undersigned by the Muslim Brotherhood only are the ones that express the official opinion of the group. Those which are not only express the views of their authors.