Muslim Brotherhood becoming more violent and radical, expert tells 'Post'

Egyptian expert to "Post": The Brotherhood will probably continue its long tradition of double-talk, speaking of democracy in English while emphasizing "jihad" in Arabic.

May 21, 2015 18:13
2 minute read.
Muslim Brotherhood demonstration, Amman, August 8, 2014.

Muslim Brotherhood demonstration, Amman, August 8, 2014. . (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is being taken over by revolutionary youth after the government crackdown has diminished its leadership, according to a new report.

“The Brotherhood’s explicit endorsement of violence and partnership with other radical movements will alienate the broader Egyptian public even further and reinforce Sisi’s popular support,” said the article published in Foreign Affairs by Egypt expert Eric Trager and Marina Shalabi.

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The report adds that the Brotherhood has tried to maintain “a level of plausible deniability” regarding violence by saying it “had no control over the ‘anti-coup’ offshoots,” but its “two-faced strategy” seems to becoming undone.

Asked if the Muslim Brotherhood could totally remove its cover and admit its part in violence similar to what jihadi groups do, Trager, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday: “The Brotherhood will probably continue its long tradition of double-talk, framing its struggle in terms of democracy when speaking in English while emphasizing ‘jihad’ and ‘martyrdom’ in its Arabic statements.

“This is why it’s so important for policy-makers and analysts to examine the organization’s official statements and social media postings in Arabic, rather than giving the Brotherhood’s English-speaking interlocutors the benefit of the doubt,” he added.

Amr Farrag, an important young Brotherhood member and other exiled youths “rebelled against the group’s older leaders” for “mismanaging the post-Morsi period,” noted the report.

In an October 2014 interview with Amr Farrag in Istanbul, the Muslim Brotherhood member acknowledged officially for the first time that the group was behind attacks on Egypt’s infrastructure.

“There are things we’re not allowed to speak of,” he said adding, “Like the [so-called] anonymous acts that the Egyptian media speaks about, such as blocking roads and bringing down electricity towers.”

The young Brotherhood leadership that won the group’s latest internal elections has helped change the makeup of the group and replace 65 percent of its leaders, with 90% coming from the youth, Brotherhood leader Ahmed Abdel-Rahman was quoted as saying in the report.

The Brotherhood is coordinating its uncompromising opposition to the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi from abroad and is part of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council coalition of groups opposing the overthrow of former president Mohamed Morsi.

In response to Morsi’s death sentence, the organization released a statement calling for a “revolution that cuts the heads from the rotten bodies” and advocates “exterminating all of the oppressors.”

The report goes on to note that the group’s call for violence on social media is being matched by attacks by its supporters in the streets and even sees the group cooperating more with more radical jihadist groups.

“According to the Brotherhood’s own estimates, 70 percent of the anti-regime activ ity within Egypt is occurring without Muslim Brothers, and the organization seemingly fears that its influence is falling even among Egyptians who oppose the current government,” said Trager and Shalabi.

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