The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has denied rumors that the Supreme Guide of the organization has resigned. According to an AFP report:
The deputy leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood denied reports on Monday that Supreme Guide Mohammed Mahdi Akef has quit in a row with conservatives in the leading opposition group.Egyptian dailies reported that Akef, who had been due to stay on as the movement’s supreme guide until next year, resigned on Sunday after conservatives blocked the appointment of a senior reformist to the politburo. “Mohammed Mahdi Akef is still the supreme guide and did not submit his resignation as mentioned by some of the media,” deputy leader Mohammed Habib said in a statement on the group’s website. The website also carried a statement from Akef himself in which he neither confirmed nor denied he had quit but said that he had been surprised by the press reports. He said they distracted attention from a continuing police crackdown against the movement, which remains an outlawed organisation in Egypt despite having members in parliament. The crisis came after weeks of speculation that conservatives led by the Islamist group’s secretary general, Mahmud Izzat, were blocking the appointment to its politburo of Essam al-Erian, a leading reformer who spent five years in jail for Brotherhood membership. Erian refused to comment on the row. A journalist associated with the reformers, Abdel Moneim Mahmud, disputed Habib’s account insisting Akef had indeed resigned. He told AFP that the supreme guide might have since been pressured into reversing his decision because his departure would have created a deep rift within the group. “Akef is a balanced man. He tried to reconcile different points of view. Without him, there will be an explosion in the Brotherhood,” Mahmud said.
Akef announced last March that he would be the first Supreme Guide in the history of the organization to step down before his death and plans to leave in January at the end of his term. The 81-year-old Akef, who was resident in Germany during the 1980’s and elected in 2004, is famous for his incendiary rhetoric and numerous previous posts have discussed Akef’s anti-American, anti-Semitic, and other remarks. In a recent Arabic media report, Brotherhood leader Kemal Helbawy named First Deputy Mohamed Habib, Secretary-General Mahmoud Ezzat, and Second Deputy Chairman Khairat Al-Shater as possible successors.