History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

:"This article refers to the Egyptian organisation called the Muslim Brotherhood; for other organisations that use the same name, see the Muslim Brotherhood article."

The history of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt following its founding in 1928 has been one of huge growth followed by successive government crackdowns. Both royal and nationalist Egyptian governments suppressed the Brotherhood in 1948, 1954, 1965 after plots, or alleged plots, of assassination and overthrow were uncovered. Periodic suppressions have continued even after the Brotherhood officially renounced violence in the 1970s. Today it is illegal but tolerated as Egypt's most popular and powerful non-governmental organization. [http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/egypt/egypt-050905-voa01.htm]


"For details and sources, see the main History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (1928-1938) article."

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna, 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


"For details and sources, see the main History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (1939-1954) article."

In response to intense pressure from the Brotherhood's younger members, some historians believe that al-Banna accepted, albeit reluctantly, the creation of its military wing (the "secret apparatus"), but managed to keep it mainly inactive throughout World War II.Fact|date=February 2007 During the 1940s, the Brotherhood continued to grow rapidly, and is thought to have had over a million members by the end of the decade. After the war, it continued to play a leading role in the nationalist movement, which swept the Arab world. Although the Brotherhood's leaders remained committed to a nonviolent approach, the secret apparatus began to disobey the leadership and carry out terrorist attacks.Fact|date=February 2007 The organisation's increasing popularity led Egypt's pro-British ruling elite (which was still largely under British control) to consider it a threat to their power.Fact|date=March 2007

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 bomings and assassination attempts by the apparatus. Subsequently 32 of its leaders are arrested and its offices raided. [Chamieh, Jebran, Traditionalists, Militants and Liberal in Present Islam, Research and Publishing House, [1994?] , p.140] The next month the Egyptian Prime Minister of Egypt, 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 reliation 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. Hudaybi attempted to abolish the secret apparatus, but it continued to operate without the leadership's knowledge.

The Brotherhood supported the military coup that overthrew the monarchy in 1952, but the junta, though popular at first, was unwilling to share power or lift martial law; it quickly lost its public support,Fact|date=March 2007 and began to provoke confrontations with the Brotherhood.Fact|date=March 2007

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. [http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/06/02/080602fa_fact_wright?currentPage=all The Rebellion Within, An Al Qaeda mastermind questions terrorism. by Lawrence Wright. newyorker.com, June 2, 2008] ]


"For details and sources, see the main History of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (1954-present) article."

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 celebrated writer Sayyid Qutb was released from prison only to be arrested again along with his brother Muhammad in August 1965. Sayyid 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. Qutb was sentenced to death and executed in 1966.

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. Since then, the organisation has been tolerated to an extent, but remains technically illegal and is subjected to periodic crackdowns.

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 6th, 1981.

In the 1980s, during Hosni Mubarak's presidency, many of the student Islamist activists joined the Brotherhood. The Brotherhood now dominates the professional and student associations of Egypt and is famous for its network of social services in neighborhoods and villages. [ [http://hir.harvard.edu/articles/1048/ Harvard International Review: Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood ] ] In order to quell the Brotherhood's renewed influence, the government again resorted to repressive measures starting in 1992.Fact|date=March 2007 Despite mass arrests, police harassment and an essentially closed political system, Brotherhood candidates have made strong showings in several parliamentary elections. In the past decade, the Brotherhood has made repeated calls for a more democratic political system, and in 2005 it participated in pro-democracy demonstrations with the Kifaya movement.

In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood's candidates, who can only stand as independents, won 88 seats (20% of the total) to form the largest opposition bloc, despite many violations of the electoral process, including the arrest of hundreds of Brotherhood members. Meanwhile, the legally approved opposition parties won only 14 seats. This revived the debate within the Egyptian political elite about whether the Brotherhood should remain banned.

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 Hedeby حسن الهضيبى :* 3rd G.L : Omar al Telmesany عمر التلمسانى:* 4th G.L : Mohamed Hamed Abo al Nasr محمد حامد أبو النصر :* 5th G.L : Mustafa Mashhur مصطفى مشهور:* 6th G.L : Maimoun al Hedeby مأمون الهضيبى:* 7th G.L & Current G.L : Mohamed al Mahdy Akef محمد المهدى عاكف

External links

* [http://www.ikhwanonline.com Ikhwan Online]
* [http://www.ikhwanweb.com Ikhwan Web]


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 3-895-00447-2 [http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d9/Buchrezension_Grundmann_Islamische_Internationalisten.pdf (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.

See also

*Muslim Brotherhood

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