The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is using mosques as the headquarters of its
party branches, and the organization is gradually seeking to create a
Shari’a-based state, former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit warned on Tuesday,
during a conference on the internet’s role in recent upheavals in the Arab world
in Tel Aviv.
Shabtai, who chaired the conference held at Tel Aviv
University and organized by the Tel Aviv Workshop for Science, Technology and
Security, said that the Muslim Brotherhood remained the only real organized
political force in Egypt, and that the current military council leading the
country until elections “was a link between the old hated regime and its
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He added that the foundations of the old Mubarak regime,
including the ruling party, the interior ministry, and prisons were currently
being dismantled in Egypt.
“The Muslim Brotherhood could not be crushed
by past regimes because of its dual identity as a religious and a political
movement. Every mosque is a party branch headquarters. Every cleric at the
mosque is the party branch chairman. A contribution to the mosque is a
contribution to the party,” Shabtai added.
The Brotherhood was
maneuvering itself through the current turmoil in Egypt skillfully, Shabtai
said, adding that its immediate goal was to be a balance changer in parliament,
following the upcoming parliamentary elections.
“After that, they would
like to place the country under Shari’a law,” he added. “Only a separation
between state and party could address the problem.”
A second speaker at
the conference, strategic expert Dr. Haim Asa who served as an adviser to former
prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, said the internet had played a defining role in
the process of making Arab-Muslim youths across the Middle East aware of the
repressive surroundings in which they live.
“The youths live in two
worlds, a physical world, and the cyberworld. This is a new experience, and it
has a direct impact on consciousness,” Asa said.
The new awareness has
led to a collective rage and desire to improve their lives, and created “a new
player on the scene” in the Middle East; the mob, Asa said.
in Tahrir Square and in Deraa, they are injured and killed, and they continue to
stand,” Asa said.
“This is an unstoppable process. I don’t know what will
come next, but it seems the old style of dictators that we have known will be no
more,” he added.
Asa said he believed that if Israel remained passive,
the new phenomenon of mobs, which he described as a “civil atomic bomb,” would
pose “a greater danger to Israel than the Iranian nuclear bomb.”