Middle Eastern media has been widely reporting on the controversy surrounding the resignation, now denied, of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohammed Mahdi Akef. According to one report by Al-Ahram:
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mahdi Akef has always drawn media attention, not least for his often confrontational statements. When reports emerged on Sunday that he had resigned, the “banned” group became the focus of a media feeding frenzy. Even state-run TV channels, for whom MB news is usually beyond the pale, made a point of announcing it. The independent press went further. On Monday it splashed the news in large type across front pages. The certainty with which news outlets reported Akef’s resignation, however, was quickly undermined when Akef himself posted a statement on the Muslim Brotherhood’s website refuting the rumours. By Monday, the Brotherhood’s website was filled with photographs of Akef at the organisation’s headquarters. The message they sought to convey was not hard to understand. For the Brotherhood it was business as usual.In a telephone interview with Al-Ahram Weekly on Monday Akef wondered at the media’s “tremendous interest” in the group and its leadership. “I haven’t resigned,” he said. “The Muslim Brotherhood is fine, and so is its supreme guide.” Why the “obsession” with his status, he asked. “If the media cares so much about the Muslim Brotherhood why isn’t it writing about the 320 MB leaders who are in prison?” While Akef’s purported resignation has been linked with the detained 320, it also came against the backdrop of a dispute with the Guidance Council. Following the death of a council member last month, Akef wanted to bring Essam El-Erian, head of the MB’s Political Bureau, on board. The council objected, saying the organisation was due to elect its Guidance Council in January, and the dispute soon developed into a crisis between Akef and the hardliners on the council, led by Mahmoud Ezzat, possibly provoking Akef to threaten to resign. Even if the “resignation” was no more than a threat, as Diaa Rashwan, an expert on the Muslim Brotherhood at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, supposes, it is indicative of the dilemma facing the 81-year-old group after its most dynamic leaders were detained.
The remainder of the Al-Ahram report expounds on the “dilemma” facing the Egyptian Brotherhood.