History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
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- This article refers to the history of the Egyptian organisation called the Muslim Brotherhood;
for non-historical information on the organization see Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt;
for other Muslim Brotherhood organizations in other countries, see the Muslim Brotherhood article.
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Ismailia, Egypt by Hassan al-Banna in March 1928 as an Islamist religious, political, and social movement. The group spread to other Muslim countries but has its largest, or one of its largest, organizations in Egypt, where for many years it has been the largest, best-organized, and most disciplined political opposition force, despite a succession of government crackdowns in 1948, 1954, 1965 after plots, or alleged plots, of assassination and overthrow were uncovered. Following the 2011 Revolution the group was legalized, and in April 2011 it launched a civic political party called the Freedom and Justice Party (Egypt) to contest elections.
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, along with six workers of the Suez Canal Company. Al-Banna was a schoolteacher, to promote implementing of traditional Islamic sharia law and a social renewal based on an Islamic ethos of altruism and civic duty, in opposition to political and social injustice and to British imperial rule. The organisation initially focused on educational and charitable work, but quickly grew to become a major political force as well, by championing the cause of disenfranchised classes, playing a prominent role in the Egyptian nationalist movement, and promoting a conception of Islam that attempted to restore broken links between tradition and modernity.
Links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandate Palestine, as a wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoires from that period, confirm. Reflecting this connection the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler's Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and Western societies generally.
In November 1948 police seized an automobile containing the documents and plans of what is thought to be the Brotherhood's `secret apparatus` with names of its members. The seizure was preceded by an assortment of bombings and assassination attempts by the apparatus. Subsequently 32 of its leaders were arrested and its offices raided. The next month the Egyptian Prime Minister, Mahmud Fahmi Nokrashi, ordered the dissolution of the Brotherhood.
On December 28, 1948 Egypt's prime minister was assassinated by Brotherhood member and veterinary student Abdel Meguid Ahmed Hassan, in what is thought to have been retaliation for the government crackdown. A month and half later Al-Banna himself was killed in Cairo by men believed to be government agents and/or supporters of the murdered premier. Al-Banna was succeeded as head of the Brotherhood by Hassan Isma'il al-Hudaybi, a former judge.
In 1952, members of the Muslim Brotherhood are accused of taking part in arson that destroyed some "750 buildings" in downtown Cairo — mainly night clubs, theatres, hotels, and restaurants frequented by British and other foreigners — "that marked the end of the liberal, progressive, cosmopolitan" Egypt.
After the attempted assassination of Gamal 'Abd al-Nasser, in 1954, a member of the secret apparatus was accused by the authorities of being the perpetrator of the attempt. Nasser then abolished the Brotherhood and imprisoned and punished thousands of its members.
Many members of the Brotherhood were held for years in prisons and concentration camps, where they were sometimes tortured, during Nasser's rule. In 1964 there was a minor thaw when writer Sayyid Qutb was released from prison only to be arrested again along with his brother Muhammad in August 1965, when he was accused of being part of a plot to overthrow the state—to assassinate the President and other Egyptian officials and personalities -- and subjected to what some consider a show trial. The trial culminated in a death sentence for Qutb and six other members of the Muslim Brotherhood and on 29 August 1966, he was executed by hanging.
Qutb became the Brotherhood's most influential thinker. He argued that Muslim society was no longer Islamic and must be transformed by an Islamic vanguard through violent revolution. To restore Islam from modern jahiliyya Muslim states must be overthrown. While Qutb's ideology became very popular elsewhere, in Egypt the Brotherhood's leadership distanced itself from his revolutionary ideology, adhering instead to a nonviolent reformist strategy, to which it has remained ever since.
Nasser's successor, Anwar Sadat, became president of Egypt in 1970 and gradually released imprisoned Brothers and enlisted their help against leftist groups. The organisation was tolerated to an extent, but remained technically illegal and subject to periodic crackdowns. Eventually the Brotherhood was key in the assassination of Anwar Sadat.
In the 1970s, a large student Islamic activist movement took shape, independently from the Brotherhood. Sadat himself became the enemy of the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups after signing a peace agreement with Israel in 1979, and was assassinated by a violent Islamist group Tanzim al-Jihad on October 6, 1981.
In the 1980s, during Hosni Mubarak's presidency, many of the student Islamist activists joined the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood dominated the professional and student associations of Egypt and was famous for its network of social services in neighborhoods and villages. In order to quell the Brotherhood's renewed influence, the government again resorted to repressive measures starting in 1992. Despite mass arrests, police harassment and an essentially closed political system, Brotherhood candidates have made strong showings in several parliamentary elections.
Over the next ten years the Brotherhood made repeated calls for a more democratic political system. In 1997 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mustafa Mashhur told journalist Khalid Daoud that he thought Egypt's Coptic Christians and Orthodox Jews should pay the long-abandoned jizya poll tax, levied on non-Muslims in exchange for protection from the state, rationalized by the fact that non-Muslims are exempt from military service while it is compulsory for Muslims. He went on to say, "we do not mind having Christians members in the People's Assembly...the top officials, especially in the army, should be Muslims since we are a Muslim country ... This is necessary because when a Christian country attacks the Muslim country and the army has Christian elements, they can facilitate our defeat by the enemy." According to The Guardian newspaper, the proposal caused an "uproar" among Egypt's six million Coptic Christians and "the movement later backtracked."
In 2000, 15 MB deputies were elected to the Egyptian parliament. A book detailing the record of the MB deputies in the 2000-2005 Egyptian parliament (The Brothers in the 2000-2005 Parliament) found its parliamentary leader Hamdy Hassan working vigorously to fight cultural expression the Brotherhood felt was unIslamic and blasphemous, from literature to beauty contests. Hassan accused the Minister of Culture (Farouk Hosny) of leading what Hassan called the `current US-led war against Islamic culture and identity`. Another Brotherhood MP (Gamal Heshmat) took credit for forcing culture minister Hosni to ban the publication of three novels on the ground they promoted blasphemy and unacceptable sexual practices.
In 2005, the Brotherhood participated in pro-democracy demonstrations with the Kifaya movement. In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood's candidates could only stand as independents under the emergency law, but identified themselves by campaigning under the most famous of their slogans - 'Islam Is the Solution'. They won 88 seats (20% of the total) to form the largest opposition bloc despite many violations of the electoral process. Meanwhile, the legally approved opposition parties won only 14 seats.
More than 1,000 Brothers were arrested before the vote's second and third rounds, and police blocked Brotherhood supporters from entering the polls in some districts, according to independent organizations monitoring the election. Brotherhood leaders also accused the government of changing the final count to lead to a victory for the ruling party candidate in seven districts, a concern echoed by independent monitors. More than 100 Egyptian judges signed a statement condemning "aggression and acts of thuggery by supporters of the ruling party against the judges while...police forces stood idle."
During and after the election the Brethren launched what some have called a "charm offensive." Its leadership talked about its `responsibility to lead reform and change in Egypt.` It addressed the `Coptic issue` stating that `conditions` for Coptic Christians (Copts) would be better `under the Brotherhood group`, and Copts would be "full citizens, not ahl-dhimma," and insinuated that the Brethren would do away with Egypt's decade's old church building-permit system that Coptic Christians felt was discriminatory. Internationally the Brethren launched an English-language website and some of the MB's leaders participated in an Initiative to `Re-Introduc[e] the Brotherhood to the West `, "listing and addressing many `Western misconceptions about the Brotherhood.`" An article was written for The Guardian newspaper under the title `No need to be afraid of us`; and another for American Jewish newspaper The Forward.
This campaign, however, was a direct threat to the Egyptian government and its position as an indispensable ally of the west in its fight against radical Islamist ideologues "bent on the Islamization of society and permanent conflict with the West." The government responded by not only continuing to arrest the Brotherhood's leaders and squeeze its finances, but introduced an amendment of Article 1 of the Egyptian constitution. The amendment would ("in theory") have had the effect of "allowing women, and Christians, to run for any position, including the presidency," by defining Egypt as `a state of citizenship` and remove the reference to Islam as `the religion of the state.` When challenged to vote for the new version of the article, the Brotherhood's members of parliament walked out of the legislative chamber.
The party has also reportedly been weakened by "missteps" that have alienated "many Egyptians" and reportedly played into the government's hands. In December 2006 masked Brotherhood students at Cairo's Al Azhar University staged a militia-style march, which included the "wearing of uniforms, displaying the phrase, 'We Will be Steadfast', and drills involving martial arts. This betrayed the group's intent to plan for the creation of militia structures, and a return by the group to the era of 'secret cells'", according to journalist Jameel Theyabi. Others agreed it was reminiscent of the group's violent past and public outcry ensued.
According to one observor: "after a number of conciliatory engagements and interactions with the West", the Brotherhood,
retreated into its comfort zone of inflammatory rhetoric intended for local consumption: all suicide bombers are `martyrs`; `Israel` regularly became the Jews`; even its theological discourse became more confrontational and oriented to social conservatism.
Two years later the Egyptian government amended the constitution, prohibiting independent candidates from running for Parliament, these being the only candidates the Brotherhood could field. It also arrested thousands of its members, many of whom were tried in military courts. The state delayed local council elections from 2006 to 2008, disqualifying most MB candidates. The MB boycotted the election. The government incarcerated thousands of rank-and-file MB members in a wave of arrests and military trials, the harshest such security clampdown on the Brotherhood "in decades." 
All but one of the Brotherhood candidates lost their seats in the 2010 election marred by massive arrests of Brethren and polling place observers. The reaction of a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman to the election was: "We lost seats and a much deserved representation in the parliament. But we won people's love and support and a media battle that exposed [irregularities in] the elections."
Following the 2011 Egyptian revolution and fall of Hosni Mubarak, the group was legalized. In 30 April 2011, it launched a new party called the Freedom and Justice Party, which reportedly plans to "contest up to half the seats" in the Egyptian parliamentary election scheduled for September 2011. The party "rejects the candidacy of women or Copts for Egypt's presidency" but not for cabinet position.
General leaders 
General leaders (G.L.) of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (المرشد العام لجماعة الإخوان المسلمون) are
- Founder & First G.leader : Hassan al Banna حسن البنا
- 2nd G.L : Hassan al-Hudaybi حسن الهضيبى
- 3rd G.L : Umar al-Tilmisani عمر التلمسانى
- 4th G.L : Muhammad Hamid Abu al-Nasr محمد حامد أبو النصر
- 5th G.L : Mustafa Mashhur مصطفى مشهور
- 6th G.L : Ma'mun al-Hudaybi مأمون الهضيبى
- 7th G.L : Mohamed al Mahdy Akef محمد المهدى عاكف
- 8th G.L & Current Leader: Mohammed Badie محمد بديع
See also 
- "FAS Intelligence Resource Program".
- "Muslim Brotherhood Movement Homepage".
- Bradley, John R. Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution by John R. Bradley, (Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), p.49
- Egypt global security.org
- 'Shariah in Egypt is enough for us,' Muslim Brotherhood leader says|23 May 2011
- See Ian Johnson, A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA and Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010); Matthias Küntzel, Jihad and Jew-hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 (New York: Telos Press, 2007); Klaus-Michael Mallmann and Martin Cüppers, Halbmond und Hakenkreuz: Das 'Dritte Reich', die Araber und Palästina (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2006), and Klaus Gensicke, Der Mufti von Jerusalem und die Nationalsocialisten: Eine politische Biographie Amin el-Husseinis (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2007).
- In addition to the studies listed in the previous note, see the detailed and richly documented analysis by Jeffrey Herf, Nazi Propaganda for the Arab World (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 2009).
- Chamieh, Jebran, Traditionalists, Militants and Liberal in Present Islam, Research and Publishing House, [1994?], p.140
- The Rebellion Within, An Al Qaeda mastermind questions terrorism. by Lawrence Wright. newyorker.com, June 2, 2008
- (Sivan (1985) p. 93.; Fouad Ajami, "In the Pharaoh's Shadow: Religion and Authority in Egypt," Islam in the Political Process, editor James P. Piscatori, Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 25–26.)
- Hasan, S. Badrul, Syed Qutb Shaheed, Islamic Publications International, 2nd ed. 1982
-  John Walsh. Harvard International Review: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Perspectives on the United States, Vol. 24 (4) Winter 2003
- Robinson, Francis (2008). The Islamic world in the age of western dominance. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0-521-83826-9.
- article printed in Al Ahram Weekly July 5–9, 1997, quoted in Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience by Caryle Murphy, pp. 241, 330.
- Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: the Egyptian Experience, by Caryle Murphy, Simon and Schuster, 2002, pp. 241, 330.
- The Muslim Brotherhood uncovered| ack Shenker in Cairo and Brian Whitaker| guardian.co.uk| 8 February 2011
- Bradley, John R., Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution by John R. Bradley, Palgrave MacMillan, 2008, p.62
- Bradley, John R. Inside Egypt: The Land of the Pharaohs on the Brink of a Revolution by John R. Bradley, Palgrave MacMillan, 2008, p.56
- Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's Parliamentary Elections| Sharon Otterman| 1 December 2005
- Osman, Tarek, Egypt on the Brink, (Yale University Press, 2010) p.101
- Osman, Tarek, Egypt on the Brink, (Yale University Press, 2010) p.102
- The Brotherhood's Power display (18 December 2006) Jameel Theyabi| Dar Al-Hayat
- "Muslim Brotherhood Falters as Egypt Outflanks Islamists" By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV MAY 15, 2009 wsj.com
- Osman, Tarek, Egypt on the Brink by Tarek Osman, Yale University Press, 2010, 103
- Osman, Tarek, Egypt on the Brink, (Yale University Press, 2010) p.113
- fault lines in egypts muslim brotherhood
- Essam Elerian quoted in Egypt's winners and losers| Alaa Bayoumi| aljazeera.net| 29 November 2010
- Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood sets up new party, 30 April 2011
- Freedom and Justice Party Open to Copt as Deputy, 2011 May 11
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Further reading 
- Udo Ulfkotte: Der heilige Krieg in Europa - Wie die radikale Muslimbruderschaft unsere Gesellschaft bedroht. Eichborn Verlag 2007, ISBN 978-3-8218-5577-6
- Johannes Grundmann: Islamische Internationalisten - Strukturen und Aktivitäten der Muslimbruderschaft und der Islamischen Weltliga. Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-89500-447-2 (Review by I. Küpeli)
- Gilles Kepel: Der Prophet und der Pharao. Das Beispiel Ägypten: Die Entwicklung des muslimischen Extremismus. München Zürich 1995.
- Matthias Küntzel: Djihad und Judenhass. Freiburg im Breisgau 2003 (2. Aufl.)
- Richard P. Mitchell: The Society of the Muslim Brothers. London 1969.
- Emmanuel Razavi : Frères musulmans : Dans l'ombre d'Al Qaeda, Editions Jean Cyrille Godefroy, 2005
- Xavier Ternisien : Les Frères musulmans, Fayard, 2005
- Latifa Ben Mansour : Frères musulmans, frères féroces : Voyages dans l'enfer du discours islamiste, Editions Ramsay, 2002
- Paul Landau : Le Sabre et le Coran, Tariq Ramadan et les Frères Musulmans à la conquête de l'Europe, Editions du Rocher, 2005.
- Ted Wende : Alternative oder Irrweg? Religion als politischer Faktor in einem arabischen Land, Marburg 2001