EGYPTIAN COURT OUTLAWS MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

The Egyptian authorities have banned the Muslim Brotherhood, sealing the marginalization of the Islamist movement that was the country’s most powerful political group until as recently as the July overthrow of Mohamed Morsi.

A court ordered the freezing of the Brotherhood’s assets and also banned its spin-off groups, state media reported. Read more here.

 

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD SUSPENDS RAMADAN

The leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Monday ruled that pious Muslims are permitted to break the fast of Ramadan in order to take part in the “jihad” to regain control of the country.

In a series of messages posted on the Internet, Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie stated that on the anniversary of the historic Battle of Badr (July 26), a new historic battle would be waged to reverse the recent ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and the Brotherhood.

 

Egyptian presidential candidate: Muslim Brotherhood can’t be in control

ISRAEL TODAY

CAIRO – As Egyptians wait to vote in the second round of their first truly democratic presidential election, secular candidate Ahmed Shafiq is loudly warning voters that choosing his Muslim Brotherhood rival will plunge Egypt into darkness and spark renewed conflict with Israel.

The Muslim Brotherhood already controls the Egyptian parliament, thanks to a very strong showing in legislative elections in December and January. In last week’s presidential election, Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi took home the lion’s share of the votes with 25 percent. But that wasn’t enough for an outright victory, so a run-off will be held between Mursi and Shafiq, who received 24 percent of the votes, in two weeks.

In a press conference on Sunday, Shafiq cautioned that giving the Brotherhood both the parliament and the presidency will “return Egypt to the dark ages.”

Shafiq insisted that despite its promises to the contrary, the Muslim Brotherhood will oppress Egyptian Christians, will try to impose Shariah Law, and will antagonize Israel by making “Palestine” the central issue for all Egyptians.

Shafiq also said the Muslim Brotherhood would ignore the mounting lawlessness in the Sinai Peninsula, a situation that concerns Israel greatly as regional terror groups like Hizballah, Hamas and Al Qaeda set up base in the area.

“I represent progress and light, they represent backwardness and darkness,” said Shafiq, who himself is a very divisive figure considering his past association with ousted former dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Darkness in Egypt

By ZIV KAUFMAN
The Jewish Reporter security analyst

Egypt’s history goes farther than its Arabic/Islamic roots. However, when traveling the country today one will find it difficult to believe that this is the place that produced the pyramids, Cleopatra, the pharos and its ancient culture and language. Egypt has become much more conservative and religious that even modern cultural things are no longer flourishing such as belly dancing and cinema.

Hosni Mubarak was a dictator who is guilty of at least suppressing any opposition to his rule and most likely of some gruesome human rights abuses as well. Nevertheless, for all his faults, Mubarak kept the peace with Israel in tact, was a reliable U.S. ally, and prevented the rise of Islamism. Of course, this came at the expense of the lack of democracy in Egypt. Yet, some laws enacted by the former president actually were beneficial for his people. This includes the ban on female circumcision, a practice conducted by approximately 95% of Egyptians according to some accounts. The Egyptians however, wanted to be a free nation and the regime was ousted.

Elections have provided long oppressed people the opportunity to express themselves and gain power. This includes of course the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamist organization survived harsh restraint for more than a half a century. The Arab Spring, for the first time in more than 80 years, has provided the group the opportunity to revive itself and even gain power. Egyptians may be getting the freedom they have sought for so long, but the rise of this organization puts regional and global security at a much greater risk.

Elections in Egypt are complex and sometimes difficult to follow. In short, Egyptians are electing members of parliament for the lower and upper houses. Different regions in the country vote at different times for parliament members of the lower house, and then at later dates they will elect their counterparts for the upper house. Eventually a constitution will be drafted and a president will also be elected. So far the Freedom and Justice Party, whose ideology derives from the Muslim Brotherhood, has won the majority of the seats and is not expected to dwindle its power in the future.

Some analysts have mentioned the pragmatism uttered by some leaders of the organization to allay Western concerns. Indeed, Islamists have to be more pragmatic in general in order to gain votes in elections such as was done in Tunisia by the Ennahda party. Notwithstanding, the Muslim Brotherhood has a specific ideology which cannot be ignored. “Islam is the solution,” is a slogan often heard from its leaders. It seeks to instill the Qur’an and Sunnah as the reference point for ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community and state. After the pro-Western governments in Muslim states are toppled, the MB’s goal is to unite them under one large Islamic caliphate. Ultimately this will include every region which was under Islamic rule at one point stretching from Spain to Indonesia.

Hence, the Muslim Brotherhood has not changed its ideology but rather is using different tactics to implement it. These may make the organization seem more moderate but it is not. It is merely aiming to achieve its goal in a slow but clever way.

Before elections the Brotherhood expected that it would have to build a coalition with more liberal parties. Thus, the Freedom and Justice Party sounded somewhat more moderate in order to attract a wide range of voters. This turned some supporters to the Salafist Al-Nour Party. To many people’s surprise, Al-Nour performed much better in recent elections than originally expected and has come in at second place so far with about 25% of the vote.

To appear more moderate the MB may seek to create a coalition with liberal parties. Nevertheless, if the Salafists continue to do well and gain momentum the MB may not be able to ignore them and be forced to include them in a coalition. Thus, it may find itself implementing radical Islamist policies faster than it had intended to.

What kind of policies could be seen in Egypt with a regime ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood? There have already been talks of banning alcohol. The debate now is about whether it should be banned for locals or for tourists as well. Additionally, some discuss banning bikinis, separate beaches for men and women, and generally spreading Sharia throughout the country. One important policy includes Egypt’s future relations with Israel. Although the Freedom and Justice Party has not officially called to end the peace treaty with Israel, it has uttered statements that could be worrisome. This includes “reviewing” the peace agreement or even putting it up for a referendum. The latter scenario, if occurred, could create a grave and dangerous situation. Indeed, Israel is viewed today very negatively throughout Egypt and its citizens could very well decide to annul the peace treaty.

However, Egypt, which receives over $1 billion in aid annually from the U.S., may not be that quick to annul this agreement, unless of course some other entity would replace that American aid. That entity could very well be Saudi Arabia. Indeed, the Saudis have the same Islamist ideology as the MB. They have given refuge to its members who escaped Egypt’s Nasser during the 1950s. The kingdom and the MB’s mutual interests included countering socialism during the 20th century and today the two continue to enjoy good relations. In fact, some MB members are part of the faculty at the University of Medina. Egypt thus, may no longer need to rely on the U.S. and its new ally is more likely to be Saudi Arabia.

During the 1950s many MB members escaped Arab countries and found refuge in Europe. Eventually those members would disseminate the organization’s ideology in mosques and campuses and basically prevented Muslims from integrating in their respective European countries. Many of the cultural clashes that are seen today throughout Europe are the MB’s doing. Although the organization does not officially espouse terrorism or violent jihad, the deepening of Islamism within certain communities has inflamed passions within individuals who have ultimately turned to violence. Therefore, even if the MB has objected to al Qaeda’s jihadist tactics, some of its followers have chosen the latter’s path even if that was not the intention of the former.

If the gap between native Europeans and descendants of Muslim immigrants widen, the continent will find its security continuing to be undermined. Additionally, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood continues to have a grip on some European Muslims and security could further be eroded.

Despite of the Muslim Brotherhood presenting itself as being moderate, it is merely putting on a facade and hiding its ultimate goals, to establish s global Islamic caliphate. Its triumph could only be bad news for Europe, Israel, the United States, and every liberal in the Arab world.