An Egyptian newspaper reported in July on comments made by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood advisory council indicating that the group had revived its so-called “Special Organization”, the Brotherhood’s paramilitary wing in the 1940’s and 1950’s. According to the report:
Member of the Muslim Brotherhood advisory council Abdel-Sattar el-Meligi said the group has a “special organization” comprising a number of extremists and isolationists, noting that they don’t carry arms and that the group does not adopt the approach of violence “at the current stage”. In press statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm, el-Meligi said the “special organization” has reappeared since 1987 following the return of Mustafa Mashhour, the late general guide, and Mahmoud Ezzat, incumbent secretary general of the group, from overseas tours in Europe, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Members of that organization work inside the group’s organizational structure while other members of the group and some members of the guidance bureau don’t know anything about that. Those members secretly convene. He added that he has recordings proving activities of that organization. El-Meligi said the group’s incumbent general guide Mohamed Mahdi Akef has nothing to do with the organization and does not know what is going on in the guidance bureau. He knows nothing about the secret meetings held by the bureau members Ezzat, Mahmoud Ghozlan, Sabri Arafa and others. “I’ll reveal their activities in a book to be published shortly. They control the group’s funds and donations it receives from abroad and carry out investments unknown to anybody,” he added. He noted that his book will include secrets about the group. “I have several secrets which will be a surprise to public opinion.” “We have no special organizations. El-Meligi lost his mind. I don’t think he has any information,” Muslim Brotherhood leading figure Ali Abdel-Fattah told Al-Masry Al-Youm. The special organization was ended upon a decision from late general guide Hassan el-Hodeibi, Abdel-Fattah addedof the group, is no longer a presence on the ground.
A Lebanese newspaper subsequently reported that the Egyptian Brotherhood leadership attempted to downplay the report and the paper cites the controversy as evidence of the non-transparent nature of the Brotherhood itself:
The Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Egypt, particularly the Guidance Office, is striving to downplay the issue that was detonated by one of its leaders, merely casting it as an organizational problem. It is even placing the statements by State Council member Abdul Sattar al Maliji on the revival of the ‘special organization’ in the framework of personal disagreements. Let us put the problem’s content aside for a while. And let us look at the wide disparity in the two versions that have emerged. On the one hand, the man alleges he is still a member and a leader, and on the other hand, the Brotherhood claims he has left the organization and as such is no longer in a position to speak of a “special organization” that operates in parallel with the public leadership. Such a huge disparity reveals once again how blurry and cloudy is the work of the organization and its leaders.
Global media widely reported that In December 2005, young men from a Brotherhood’s student group dressed in black and held a military-style parade, complete with martial arts demonstrations, to protest restrictions on student political activities at Al Azhar. Such demonstrations are forbidden in Egypt and the event was the subject of a great deal of local and international media attention.