The Muslim Brotherhood Mobilizes


Al-Ahram article: Declaration of Freedom and Justice Raises Severe Controversy

Cairo -- Amani Majid; Alexandria -- Fakri Abdul-Salaam and Tariq Ismael

The decisions of the Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council, which concluded on Saturday night, raised a great amount of controversy around the choosing of new leaders for the Freedom and Justice Party, from the leaders of the Brotherhood and over the rate of participation in the Elections of the Council of the People, as well as the relationship between the Brotherhood and its daughter party.

The decision was made to make Dr. Muhammad Mursi president for the new party, with Dr. Issam al-Eryan as deputy and Doctor Said Katanani as secretary general. Concerning this, there was condemnation by a number of the Muslim Brotherhood, not directed at the leadership itself, but at the means of election.

Dr. Muhammad Habib, the former deputy supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, said, “I am sad and tortured that the right of the founders was confiscated, and especially that more than 59% of the founders are members of the Brotherhood organization, which to them was sold the call."

And he added, “That which happened is a real confiscation of the free will of the founders, and deals with them like they are not adults.” And he stressed, “And I reject this view completely.”

And Habib said that the three leaders are members of the [Brotherhood’s] Guidance Office, which means that the leadership is imposing its control in a complete and continuous way on the party. And he added, “We hope to be a party of independent positions, fledgling experience, and seeing to the general view of public opinion.”

The question, Habib says, is what will the Brotherhood do if the government or even part of the government falls to [comes under the control of] the Freedom and Justice Party?

He criticized the Shura [council] of the Brotherhood’s decision in selecting 5% for nomination to the People’s Assembly, and he said that this decision affects the founding body of the party. He considered that ratio [to be large] and he expected that the party would win 52% of the parliamentary seats.

On the relationship between the Brotherhood and the party, Habib said the answer. For the future of the political party, he said about it that there are many currents in Egypt, including Islamic, liberal, national, and independent, and perhaps the Islamic trend can reap 53% of the seats. But the future of the party depends on the activity of the Brotherhood and their dealings with the different national forces.

As for the opinion of Dr. Omar Ali Hassan, an expert in Islamic movements, that the relationship of the Brotherhood to the party is unjustifiable, warning that it may constitute a heavy burden on the course of the Freedom and Justice Party in the future, he explained his words by saying that the Brotherhood is not defined so far as to its legal status, as it is not a popular assembly subject to oversight and accountability. This means opening the door of the floodgates to challenging to the party.

Like the Brotherhood, which is supportive of the party and has investments abroad, this presents the party also with the challenge to receive funds from abroad, and it can be charged with forming military organizations, where, perhaps, it faces a future of the same accusations as the events of the militias of al-Azhar.

Omar criticized the rise in ratios of the nomination from 3 to 4 to the final decision (from 54 to 5%), and said that the Brotherhood had already indicated its target of winning only 52% of the seats. However, this is [just] the proposed rate. He knows as well that the Brotherhood nominates members from subcontractors, who will raise this percentage.