The Washington Post is providing further details on the first ever visit by an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood delegation to the U.S.in what is described as a “week long charm offensive.” According to the report:
By William Wan, Wednesday, April 4, 2:48 AM Members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood began a week-long charm offensive in Washington on Tuesday, meeting with White House officials, policy experts and others to counter persistent fears about the group’s emergence as the country’s most powerful political force. The revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak has rapidly transformed the Brotherhood from an opposition group that had been formally banned into a political juggernaut controlling nearly half the seats in Egypt’s newly elected parliament.Turbulence in the new Egypt:?Islamists are poised to dominate a panel that is to draft the country’s constitution. The constitution has been the subject of heated debate since president Hosni Mubarak’s ouster last year. With its rise, however, have come concerns from Egypt’s secularists as well as U.S. officials that the Islamist group could remake the country, threatening the rights of women and religious minorities. Such fears were only exacerbated by the Brotherhood’s recent decision to field a candidate in upcoming presidential elections, despite previous pledges that it would not do so. In meeting with U.S. officials, Brotherhood representatives were expected to depict the organization as a moderate and socially conscious movement pursuing power in the interest of Egyptians at large. “We represent a moderate, centrist Muslim viewpoint. The priorities for us are mainly economic, political — preserving the revolution ideals of social justice, education, security for the people,” Sondos Asem, a member of the delegation, said Tuesday in an interview with reporters and editors of The Washington Post. In the interview, members of the delegation defended the decision by the group’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, to field a presidential candidate. “We approached people outside of the Brotherhood that we respected, like people in the judiciary, but none of them would agree to be nominated,” said Khaled al-Qazzaz, foreign relations coordinator for the party. Qazzaz and others said that a candidate elected from outside the Brotherhood could have instituted radical changes and dissolved the parliament.
Read the rest here.
A post from yesterday first reported on the visit by the Brotherhood delegation which is being hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.
After almost five years of reporting on the Global Muslim Brotherhood, the GMBDW will allow its readers to decide whether the Brotherhood can conceivably be described as a “moderate and socially conscious movement.”