More problems for the Muslim Brotherhood in their home country of Egypt.
Mohamed Morsi, the president of Egypt until he was removed from power this summer by the military (normally one calls this a coup, but the American government has refrained from using this designation thus far because by law it would no longer be able to provide aid to a government which came to power through a coup), is currently being held at an undisclosed location.
On Sunday, state prosecutors charged Morsi and more than a dozen other Brotherhood leaders with inciting the murder of their opponents.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s response to the current Egyptian government is to liken that leadership to the Nazis, calling them “fascist putschists,” traitors and terrorists.
On Sunday, August 1, the Brotherhood issued a statement, “No Rest or Sleep until Revolution Reclaimed,” according to the Muslim Brotherhood’s official English website, “Ikhwan web.” In language typically reserved for descriptions of imaginary massacres perpetrated by Israelis against Arab Palestinians, the Brotherhood described the current Egyptian government’s atrocities:
- Coup commanders and collaborators also killed Egyptians with impunity, in unspeakable massacres – unprecedented in the history of Egypt. In the massacre outside the Republican Guard Officers’ Club, and the one at the podium (Manasseh), in Alexandria and other provinces, the massacre in Rabaa Al-Adaweya and the Nahda Square massacre, in Mustafa Mahmoud Square and in the Ramses massacre, the putschists’ forces killed with bullets and burnt alive more than five thousand peaceful protesters. The putschists’ forces prevented ambulances from offering even First Aid, killed most of the wounded, then burned most of the corpses. They tortured detainees to death at Abu Zaabal prison. - The generals’ forces trampled all red lines, laying sieges to mosques, killing worshipers, torching mosques, burning the Quran – Muslims’ holy book, and arresting women and girls in the middle of the night, having killed some of them in Mansoura and in Rabaa Al-Adaweya… all in less than two months.
The statement ended with a chilling warning: “Egyptians will not rest or sleep after August 30. They will descend onto all streets and squares of Egypt every day. They will escalate their peaceful protest activities, innovate and invent new peaceful means of protest, until they reclaim their Revolution.”
In its recommendation to Egypt’s administrative court, the panel of judges accused the Brotherhood of operating outside the law. The judges recommended that the Brotherhood’s non-governmental organization which was hastily registered in March be dissolved, and that its Cairo headquarters be shuttered.
The recommendation is nonbinding for the court, which holds its next hearing on Nov. 12.
Until the 2011 revolution in Egypt which overthrew former president Hosnai Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood had been a shadowy group, which was officially banned for most of its 85-year existence. While it waited in the background, the Brotherhood gained recognition and support as providers of social services, similar to the spread and acceptance of the Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas party in Gaza. But in the post-Mubarak era, the Brotherhood quickly filled the vacuum of power and assumed the throne in the person of Mohamad Morsi.
Although the Brotherhood waited decades to assume a legitimate leadership role, the rapidity with which Morsi attempted to change the fabric of not only the Egyptian government but the entire society into one permeated by rigid Islamist theory was more than most Egyptians were able to tolerate.
The charges of violence, coupled with legal irregularities regarding the intertwining of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “political” and non-political branches will be tough to overcome.
But even if Morsi and the other detained political leaders are found guilty, it is likely that the Brotherhood will simply once again retreat into the shadows, biding its time until the next opportune moment.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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