A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Monday, September 23, 2013

Banning the Brotherhood, Again

The Muslim Brotherhood has survived for 85 years despite being formally illegal for much of that time, including the entire period 1954-2011, though it elected members of Parliament (as independents) in the late Mubarak years. Before Nasser's 1954 crackdown the British instigated a ban in 1942 during World War II and the King banned it again in 1948. In other words, Egyptian secularists who feel that today's court decision, which "bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its non-governmental organization and all the activities that it participates in and any organization derived from it," will mean the decisive end of the organization are unlikely to be proven right.

Even without the history of the Brotherhood as a tightly organized underground body which has survived for decades in the shadows, today's decision will be appealed. The case, in fact, was not brought by the government but by the leftist Tagammu‘ Party.

Nor is it made clear in the decision whether "any organization derived from it" includes the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's political wing. If the FJP is banned from running in Parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood will have no incentive to try to find a modus vivendi with the military backed government. Up to now some have speculated the FJP may be allowed to run candidates, and today's ruling is unclear on the fate of the FJP.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From the first time it was banned? dissolved? the Gama'a was never again legalized. Members of the non-existent group formed and registered the FJP during the heady days when everyone was doing so.

After being hammered by the opposition for brazenly operating an illegal organization subject to no oversight body, [the mother organization, the Gama'a] and after they put in place a new NGO law, they quickly and quietly registered an NGO classified like others as a Gami'a. The filing indicated a holding of only a few thousand dollars or a couple of million dollars.

They threw this news out as a bombshell at some point when people were attacking them for having a big illegal organization in the era of "the rule of law."

Since the Gama'a doesn't exist legally, it's funds are held in the names of individuals, businesses, and various institutions they are related to, all of this running into the billions. It is THIS money the government is going after.

The fate of the FJP, I believe, is more related to the new laws that will restrict religiously based politically party...how that would be worded. The Salafi parties would face the same fate.

If nothing else, the FJP would likely have to separate itself from any ties to the Gami'a as well as from the non-existent Gama'a.

So, did they dissolve the already dissolved Gama'a or the fairly new NGO, the Gami'a or both? And yes, what about the FJP. Confused? Me, too!

I suspect that most of the MB assets that are in cash or gold are hidden away in Qatar just as Mubarak's is thought to be in the UAE. But there is whole lot of property.