April 17, 2007

Political activism of the MB in Egypt.

The Muslim Brothers are able to perform political activism on the Egyptian government: pressuring for laws that are in accordance with Islamic laws. The Muslim Brothers successes since 2000 are visible each time they have the right to compete. Letting Egyptians having a free vote would certainly bring to power an Islamic government. A parallel with Algeria comes to mind. The rise of the GIA and their Islamist agenda was stopped by the military government during the elections in 1991, at the price of a protracted warfare for the next decade.

The Muslim Brothers do not define democracy the same way than Westerns do. The organization “only accepts to participate in such a system because more benefit will be achieved if they do…Ikhwan (the Muslim Brothers) accept personal freedom within the limits of Islam.”

The electoral process is only a small part of the edge that the organisation have in its political activism. By the mid 1990s, the Muslim Brothers were in control of sixteen of Egypt’s eighteen main professional associations including those for lawyers, teachers, engineers, and reporters. By this way, they were able to put pressure on the government, and get things done, such as benefits for their members. Credibility and sympathy is also given to the organisation every time the government is trying to crack the organization. Finally, the control of powerful student associations insures them with a strong political voice, keen to demonstrate and put pressure on the government. The Muslim Brothers have the power to inflame the streets and blockade the country, appealing to those organizations and the mosque.

The growing influence of the Muslim Brothers in the military and security services is also a major challenge for the regime that relies on the military for its survival. The Muslim Brothers is building a strong “fifth column.”

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