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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Muslim Brotherhood May Gain 25% of Seats in Egypt

Nadene Goldfoot
The Muslim Brotherhood, which started in the late 1920's, may have been banned by Mubarak but has been running the educational, health and social programs in Egypt, giving them an in politically in Egypt. Besides that, it has been said that they are the strongest and most organized group. They just ousted 5 young members who were too progressive.

The US response is to recognize this group. Hillary Clinton said that "It is in the interests of the US to engage with all parties that are peaceful, and committed to nonviolence, that intend to compete for the parliament and the presidency." They say they renounced violence 60 years ago. The fact that Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood is not under consideration. The Muslim Brotherhood's own leaders say they are a moderate Islamic movement. This is a political party with a stand on limiting the rights of women, which is something that has been a part of this Muslim society, but more in the past. I am judging by the many Egyptian movies I was able to watch from Israel in 1980-1985, not having traveled there. They have an estimated 600,000 members. The Obama administration feels they should not turn against the Muslim Brotherhood because it is Islamist. Because this group has such Islamic ideals, they do oppose the Egypt-Israel peace settlement.

Their charter displays their goal of wiping out Israel, so I wouldn't call that peaceful group. They are open about advocating violent jihad against America and Israel. A "moderate" leader once wanted to ban kissing in public. An offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Jihad, carried out the assassination of President Anwar al Sadat.  It was Sadat who had legalized the Muslim Brotherhood for the first time in two decades.  Sadat had made peace with Israel.  How is it that our government is not acknowledging these facts?

Secular groups have formed with the younger generation. Islam Lotfy, a lawyer, was one of the 5 dismissed from the Muslim Brotherhood who has formed his own party belatedly, the Egyptian Current. It will be more tolerant and youth-driven. . Abdel Monem Aboul Fotouh is another one who defyed the wishes of the M. B. by running for president. Lotfy said the M.B is against the concept of revolution. They want to change society from within. Since this concept didn't arrive at change, Lotfy is now for revolution.

Parliamentary elections are in September. The Muslim Brotherhood plans on gaining 25 % of the seats.Two things worry me: this Islamic political party and younger revolutionary parties. What changes do they need to bring about? Egypt is the 5th largest Muslim majority country with 77,100,000 people of which 90% are Sunni Muslims. It is a state religion and they have a semi-presidential republic. This is where both the prime minister and president both have an active role in the administration of the state.

Their GDP is only 5,491, so they are a rather poor country. Do they also wish to do away with the peace treaty with Israel? What is it that revolution is necessary to achieve? Most all the Muslims in the Middle East are engaged in an "Arab Spring" right now of revolution. Netanyahu has commented that Democracy in Arab countries would be the best thing for Israel.

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