Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Selects Christian For Party VP; Hopes Move Will Bolster Public Approval


Egyptian media is reporting that in an attempt to bolster public approval, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has selected a Coptic Christian as vice-president of its newly formed political party. According to a report on Ahramonline:

The Muslim Brotherhood has always been one of the most potent, well-funded and ?most organised groups in the country, but for decades its potential as a political force was limited ?by the ruling regime’s relentless defamation and suppression of Islamic entities. Now, in post-?revolution Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has high aspirations of assuming power – ?an aim that stirs up controversy amongst Egyptians.? Only 10 days after former president Hosni Mubarak was deposed on 11 February, the ?Muslim Brotherhood announced its intent to establish the Freedom and Justice Party, ?even though the newly-enacted political parties law prohibits the establishment of parties ?based on religion.? The MB has officially submitted the required documents Wednesday to launch their party – ?consisting of 8821 members, including 978 women and 93 Copts –  leaving their sky-high ?political ambitions clear as day. Two days ago, Rafiq Habib, a coptic politician, was appointed as vice president of the party. Its challenge, however, remains qualifying as a secular party and coming across as moderate ?Islamists, rather than hardliners.? The fact that the Brotherhood is among the frontrunners for presidency has frightened ?many people, mainly thanks to the notion that a Brotherhood president would apply the ?strictest interpretation of Sharia (Islamic) law, which would mark the end of pivotal intellectual values and those that emerged among Egyptian youth — such as freedom of speech, gender equality and ?religious diversity — and also herald the beginning of a devastating foreign policy turn that ?might result in wars with neighbouring countries, or worse.?

Read the rest here.

It should be noted that the Muslim Brotherhood today has become a global network and that the Egyptian mother branch is not necessarily the most important part of the movement. Sheikh Youssef Qaradawi, close to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, is often referred to by the GMBDW as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide.


  1. It should be noted that Rafiq Habib, though a Christian, is a protestant Copt and not an Orthodox Copt. While the Orthodox Copts are approximately 10 to 12 million of Egypt’s 80 million population, Protestants are an insignificant (in numbers) minority of 250,000 within the greater Coptic minority. Rafiq Habib was once interviewed by a Western journalist (Arab West Report) who described him as; “suffice it to say that nearly no Christian in Egypt sympathizes with him, nor shares his perspective on inter-religious matters of governance. It has been wondered if he is, in fact, a Muslim himself.”