Who are the Muslim Brotherhood?

As little as I wish to promulgate the Muslim Brotherhood ideology, this is an issue which I must address. By acknowledging a dogma so far from my own, I hope only to further distance it from the beliefs of myself and my fellow patriots. The Muslim Brotherhood is a supranational Islamist organisation in favour of pan Islamic rule – founded in, yet not solely unique to, Egypt by Hassan Al Banna in 1928. Muslim Brotherhood groups exist across the globe, united under the cloak of political Islam denouncing the nation states in which they live. As a conservative Islamic grouping with a significantly large following and ceaseless sources of financial aid, they have succeeded in stalling progression a causing upheaval in North Africa, acting as no strangers to violent protest and bombings.

During the World War, Nazi ideology struck a chord with the Muslim Brothers and was used to buoy fervent anti-British and anti-Jewish sentiment. The group have continuously found themselves at odds with the Egyptian government, facing persistent crackdowns since the 50s. Nasser’s government imprisoned many individuals after his attempted assassination. Sadat came to power after the death of Nasser and slowly loosened government grip over the Brotherhood, releasing them from prison for his own gains only then to be killed by those very individuals.

Enchanted by the strength in Brotherhood numbers and the readymade platform for expression, the youth amongst others in opposition to Mubarak were sucked into the belief of Islamist ideology as a viable alternative to 30 years of dictatorship. Many were familiar with the Brotherhood’s social programs and charity work and were thus automatically considered a source of future votes post-Mubarak. In conjunction with international support, large funds, underdeveloped political culture, support from prominent Islamic clerics and flawed, under participated elections, Morsi managed to seize the dictator’s throne. This well organised collective has managed to wheedle its way into many government posts which must be weeded out after elections. Morsi is due to be tried for incitement of murder this November until which Egyptians grapple for stability despite consistent threats of violent protest.

Support for the Muslim Brothers in the desires of international actors and superpowers for political balance in the Middle East coupled with impressionable overly zealous citizens, provides a powerful concoction. As the Muslim Brotherhood learn and grow from experience they potentially become a serious contender to those who desire a secular state in Egypt and abroad. Unfortunately, however those in opposition support the desire of the masses and protect citizens, their action will continue to be contested in Western media without context. Despite the Brotherhood’s stateless position, working independently to strengthen national politics alongside international cooperation is the only solution to ensuring the future of secularism.

Noora Ismail

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