The global media is widely reporting that that Muslim Brotherhood members from the Egyptian parliament have been invited to attend President Obama’s speech to the Muslim world on Thursday. According to one report:
The US has invited leading critics of the Egyptian regime, including members of parliament from the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group, to attend President Barack Obama’s much-awaited speech to the Muslim world in Cairo on Thursday.The audience at Cairo University will include bloggers critical of the Egyptian government, Ayman Nour, the former presidential candidate whose imprisonment had strained relations between Cairo and the previous US administration, as well as independent deputies who belong to the banned Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group. The guest list marks an apparent US attempt to balance closer relations with Arab leaders with an outreach to civil society and opposition groups. Mr Obama has carefully refrained from criticising the Egyptian authorities even when pressed on their human rights record. And he arrives in Cairo after lavishing praise on King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia during a visit to Riyadh.“I imagine that the US embassy had something to do with the invitations,” said Saad Al Katatny, the head of the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc. “We have a fifth of the seats in parliament, and we are present in society. It is natural that we should be invited, it is ignoring us that is not natural.”Brotherhood members of parliament are usually not asked to official events in Egypt and they are almost never interviewed on state media. The group is the main target of a government crackdown intended to keep it on the defensive through a revolving-door policy of arrests and releases of its members.