The Muslim Brotherhood and the
By Amin Al-Mahdy
Political Egyptian map is going through a critical and shaky transitional period
in which all probabilities are possible. The weight of the Muslim brotherhood
The beginnings of the Muslim brotherhood are of some ambiguity which led to different interpretation to its birth. These interpretations depend on some secret introductions or what is known as conspiracy theory. Some isolate the beginnings of this group from the context of the modern Egyptian history, subjecting the history of the Group to fragment understanding which certainly leads to wrong analyses.
establishment of the Muslim brotherhood group comes within the social and
political history of
The first camp was led by “Al-Omaa” party and the institution of Ahmed Lotfy Al-Sayed. It comprised also the constitutional Al-Wafd and Al-Aharrar parties, Al-Wafd avant garde, socialist currents, and other political, economic and cultural groups like the bloc of Ismail Sedky, the first patron of Egyptian capitalism, as well as Industries’ Federation, Renaissance Group and Bread and Freedom Group. This camp was led by the growing middle class under the civil state and the liberal economic and political experiment. The first string for this class encompassed the foreign communities, the nationalized Egyptians, traders, employees, high school and European universities graduates, judges, metropolitan Copts, some of Al-Azhar graduates who rebelled against the religious education in addition to families of political history.
other hand, the traditional camp was under the leadership of the National Party
and whatever stemmed from this party or revolved in its orbit like General Aziz
Al-Masry who was the nanny of King Farouk when he was a crown prince, Ali Maher
Group, Masr Al-Fatah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iron guards and Free Officers of
the July Revolution. The base of this camp was the social class that failed to
be participants in
The modernizers made a bet on the victory of the allies in World War II, while the traditionalists made their bet on the Nazi Germany, Ottoman ally in World War I, to win. Traditionalists shouted loud: “Move forward Rommel”. They named leader of Nazism: “Haj Mohamed Hitler”. In this manner the conflict won new broader dimensions, especially with the increase of the social gap between the cities and towns and the classes which is the virtue of capitalism at its very early stages.
Individualism, reticence and charisma of Sheikh Hassan Al-Banna played a role in the ambiguous start of the Muslim Brotherhood Group in Ismailia Governorate in 1928. It is a colonial city. The ambiguity of the Group framed its gradual evolution from an association calling for ethics to a political organization that later won followers from an expeditionary group. This expeditionary group was transformed into a special organization to be the secret separate military wing. The wing was directly under the Supreme Guide Hassan Al-Banna. Some of the leaderships did not know about its existence. They were behind terrorist acts resulted in the death of the two Egyptian prime ministers and a judge. The militant wing attacked the properties of the foreign communities and the nationalized citizens at the top of which were the Jews. The terrorist acts were accomplished in collaboration with Masr Al-Fatah Group every year on November 2, to commemorate Balfour permission. Coptic, economic, legal and mass media properties were attacked by same kind of terrorism. The characters of the Supreme Guide in addition to the ideological deformity resulted in an organizational, intellectual and structural deficiency that still accompanies the march of the Brotherhood until this day. I have to mention here that the number of terrorist acts committed by the National Party before the establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood. A young guy called Ibrahim Al-Wardany killed Egyptian Prime Minister Boutros Ghali out of racist nationalist and fascist motives in 1909. Enayat Al-Saryder also killed the British citizen, Lee Stake, which resulted in the fall of Al-Wafd government in 1923.
The Muslim Brotherhood, like all other religious radical groups, depends on the simple marginalized youth. For this youth, religious ideology represents an ideal choice between becoming a ruler or a martyr in heaven. It is like all reclusive religious groups that go through three phases; First Phase: the missionary that starts with evangelization of salvation that bears guardianship and compulsion after it becomes part of an organizational force, Second phase: a fierce clash with reality which is the terrorism stage as it realizes the complexity of reality and the difficulty of changing it and Third phase: the transformation to a duality of religiousness and realism that usually slips into opportunism.
The most important incident in the history of the Muslim Brotherhood is when major Mahmoud Labib (he was the right arm for general Aziz Al-Masri when he was fighting with the Ottoman against Italy in Libya) together with seven low-rank soldiers that included Gamal Abdel Nasser and Khaled Mohey El-Din in 1943 went to pay allegiance to Sheikh Hassan Al-Banna, the Supreme Guide for the Muslim Brotherhood on the Holy Quran and a gun to give birth to the nucleus of the Muslim Brotherhood Officers. The sickness of Mahmoud Labib and later his death in 1950 gave Gamal Abdel Nasser the leadership of the Group where most of it became members in the private organization that Abdel Nasser trained some of its cadres. He himself attempted to kill Prime Minister Hussein Serry on the eve of changing the name of the organization as some minority currents were included to the “Free Officers”.
Group supported King Farouk against the majority Al-Wafd party. When the people
demonstrated shouting: “Al-Nahas or the Revolution… the people are with Nahass,”,
the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Azhar students demonstrated: “God with the King. The
King was leading the Army. Al-Wafd however deemed the Army as a symbol of
national independence. That explains why fascist groups became so active in the
Army at the top of which were members of the Muslim Brotherhood that was seen
as the upcoming Islamic Caliphate Army.
When July Coup d’Etat took place, there were only two Copts at the
General ranks and five at the rank of brigadier general. The traditionalist
camp pressured the King, the Army leadership and the rightist wing of Al-Wafd
Party in order to engage in
War II, as a key international factor, re-arranged the world arena at the
expense of attracting two untraditional polarities from outside traditional
Hassan Al-Banna paid his life as a price for the last prominent operation in
the phase of terrorism that started 1945. It was the assassination of Prime
Minister Mahmoud Fahmy Al-Noukrshy because he signed a truce agreement
following the Arabs’ defeat in the 1948 war. There was no hope to change the
result. It was also another evidence of the intellectual inefficiency of the Muslim
Brotherhood especially that Noukrshy was one of those who were sentenced to
death by the British occupation in the 1919 Revolution. His partner was Prime
Minister Ahmed Maher who was also assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood when
he declared the war on
leaderships of the Muslim Brotherhood learned from what had happened. The book
of the second Supreme Guide of the Group, Counselor Hassan Al-Houdiby titled
“Callers not Judges” was issued. The
Muslim Brotherhood had a representative to “Ansar Al-Salam” – Advocates of
Peace. The representative was Sheikh Al-Tamimey. Ansar Al-Salam was founded by
Youssif Helmy. However, the private wing and the Officers’ group went on their
path ignoring the “civilian” political wing. May be the
narrow-minded eastern Arab Islamic front with military aggressive frame of mind
was formulated against s western Christian imperialist Zionist and “Infidel
front. The main issues of freedom, progress and peace were diminished. That was reflected, among civilians and
sheikhs, on the organizational and intellectual structure of the Group as the Muslim
Brotherhood leadership was interchangeable among members of the secret
organization. It went through a context of extremism and fundamentalism towards
the abyss of the current social and political climate in
met the aspired results over these long decades (with more results than
needed). For example, to name it but few, Muslims in
mosques is not subject to any law, including real estate and general property
laws. No matter how the mosque consumes electricity and water, the general
treasury pays for it when millions of Egyptians live in cemeteries and two
million homeless children are wandering in the streets of Egypt. It is worth
mentioning that there are three Islamic entities in
authoritarian central state monopolized the approach of the one single
interpretation for religion and ethics. It subjected science and knowledge to
serve faith. Corruption found its way to everything. Efforts were crowned by
making the Islamic Shaar’a the main source of the constitution and legislation.
Decision-making institutions excluded Christians and women from influential
positions. Extension for the president’s term was named “paying allegiance”. Political
parties’ law stipulated as a condition agreeing on applying Islamic Shara’a and
resigning to the military republic. Many anti-civil laws and anti-human rights
conventions courts were built. The highest court in
can the Muslim Brotherhood add except continuing the road to darkness and
backwardness leading to a state like Taliban? The state has tried over the past
few years to raise the level of the tool partner to be an included partner
especially that the Muslim Brotherhood is of prominence on the map of chaos
that was caused by the Arab regimes in
I admit that Al-Wasat party experiment and abandonment of radical violence need more effort at the study and dialogue levels. I believe that opportunity is still there.
I also believe that if one of the conditions of the civil state and democratic life is to redistribute power or authority and wealth on the desperate burdened Egyptian society and to decentralize corrupt political and economic authority, civil state and democracy also mean returning the spiritual needs and moral strength to the free personal will. And this should be stipulated to contront the state before the Muslim Brotherhood.