Issue No.1193, 17 April, 2014      16-04-2014; 07:13PM ET

MB clinically dead

Amany Maged on the Muslim Brotherhood’s desperate attempts to assert its presence

MB clinically dead
  • Print
  • Email
  • Share/Bookmark


At a time when Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb’s government has made it clear that it is determined to act on the court ruling branding the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation and when countries in the Gulf and Europe have begun to clamp down on the organisation the Brotherhood and its supporters have decided to try to assert their presence. They have chosen 25 April, the annual commemoration of the liberation of the Sinai, as the date when it seeks to reassert itself. But is there any real hope the organisation can revive?



Inside Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood has become publicly and legally anathema. The terrorist attacks carried out by jihadists on behalf of the Brotherhood since the declaration of the post-3 July roadmap have turned public anger against the Brotherhood into hatred. Because of the undeclared alliance between the Brotherhood and takfiri militants the Egyptian public has come to blame all terrorist crimes on the group.



Mehleb’s determination to carry out the ruling by the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters is bringing the wrath of law against the Brotherhood. That it has been classified a terrorist organisation means that all the penalties prescribed under law for the crime of terrorism apply to those who take part in its activities, promote it through speech, writing or any other means, and who fund its activities.



The government decree calls for the execution of the ruling issued on 24 February by the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters on case 3343/2014, ordering that the Muslim Brotherhood be banned on the grounds that it is a terrorist organisation. Legally stipulated penalties are to be implemented against those who join the group or who remain members. In addition, the government will notify Arab states that are signatories to the 1998 anti-terrorist agreement of this decree so that they can take appropriate action within the framework of the agreement. Finally, according to the decree, the government will instruct the armed forces and police to protect public facilities while the police are to undertake the task of protecting universities and safeguarding students.



Many politicians regard the government’s action as a complementary measure or follow through on an earlier governmental decision to designate the Brotherhood a terrorist group. Among the most important legal repercussions of the government’s measure is that it obliges all competent authorities to carry it out and to enforce the relevant laws against any citizen who becomes or remains a Muslim Brotherhood member.



The repercussions of this decree are not new to the Muslim Brotherhood. Several years before the revolution of 23 July 1952 prime minister Mahmoud Fahmi Al-Nuqrashi issued a decree banning the Muslim Brotherhood and calling for the confiscation of its assets. Not long after that revolution president Gamal Abdel-Nasser followed suit, once again banning the Brotherhood and ordering the closure of its headquarters and the confiscation of its assets.



 This time, however, the repercussions are more serious with respect to the group’s prospects for survival. Under the anti-terrorism agreement Arab governments are obliged to carry out their commitments with respect to the Egyptian decision. Effectively, this spells “clinical death” for the Muslim Brotherhood which is only being kept alive on the artificial respiration machine of “demonstrations”.



Internationally, the Egyptian Brotherhood is not faring much better. Some Gulf countries have also declared it a terrorist organisation. Its condition took another turn for the worse when British Prime Minsiter David Cameron announced that his government would be conducting an inquiry into the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and its connections with terrorism. The Brotherhood quickly decided to move its international headquarters from London to Graz, Austria, for fear of exposure by the British investigation.



 However, when the British press revealed information about “links” between certain Brotherhood members and a charity organisation founded by former prime minister Tony Blair political and media circles in Austria began to worry about the possible move to Graz. It appears that the Brotherhood’s choice of this city was no accident. It has served as a refuge for Brotherhood leaders before. Youssef Nada and Ahmed Al-Qadi lived in Graz in the 1960s. Ayman Ali, who served as ousted president Morsi’s advisor, was a long-time resident of the city. The Austrian authorities have now made it clear that they oppose Brotherhood attempts to move their headquarters to Graz or anywhere else in Austria. In so doing the authorities were responding, at least in part, to the demands of the Egyptian community in Austria which has voiced strong opposition to the group.



Finding itself increasingly hemmed in at home and abroad the Muslim Brotherhood has opted to fight back with a series of demonstrations. The organisation, and the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy that it founded, announced that protests would be timed to coincide with Sinai Liberation Day. Amr Emara, coordinator of the coalition of breakaway Brotherhood youth, has warned that the “terrorist” Muslim Brotherhood will try to storm Tahrir Square. He warned against blind obedience to the “terrorist” calls. Emara anticipates that the Brotherhood will organise acts of violence on 25 April with the purpose of obstructing the roadmap and creating havoc in order to sap the energies of the police and armed forces.



Salafist Calling Vice President Yasser Borhami says the calls for demonstrations on Sinai Day are a kind of “trial balloon”. He asked the government to take all necessary precautions against “Muslim Brotherhood violence” as 25 April approaches. The Salafist leader also appealed to the Muslim Brotherhood and the coalition that supports it not to cause the death of Egyptians.



The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, for its part, has proclaimed the period from 25 April to 1 May the beginning of the “escalatory revolutionary wave”. According to the Alliance’s spokesmen that wave will serve “as a historic opportunity for a popular awareness raising campaign”. At the same time it will demonstrate that “revolutionaries” could be mobilised “all the time” and formed into “revolutionary groups and popular resistance committees that identify their aims and the time for carrying out these aims”.



A coalition leader said that 5,000 ten-member revolutionary groups were being prepared for deployment throughout the country and that this tactic was preferable to hundreds of demonstrations “although the demonstrations will continue”. He described the strategy as a form of “intifada by the oppressed people”.



Meanwhile, the popular mood and the law are tightening their noose around the Muslim Brotherhood. No one expects the forthcoming rounds of demonstrations to add anything new to the scene apart from more violence and more difficulties for the government as it prepares for the presidential elections that are set for 26 May. The Muslim Brotherhood appears clinically hooked up on the artificial support system of demonstrations which may prolong, but not restore, life.

  • Print
  • Email
  • Share/Bookmark

Add Comment