US Ambassador Says She Won’t Yet Meet With Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood


U.S. media is reporting on comments by the American ambassador to Egypt in which she said she is not yet comfortable with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. According to an interview by Global Post:

CAIRO –As Egypt braces for its first parliamentary elections since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February, the American ambassador to Egypt said Monday she’s not yet “comfortable” with the Muslim Brotherhood and has held no direct talks with the group even though its political party is likely to be a major force in Egypt’s new parliament. In an interview with GlobalPost, the new ambassador, Anne Patterson, said that her staff members at the American embassy have had “contact” with the Muslim Brotherhood — but that she herself isn’t ready to sit down with anyone from Egypt’s most influential and organized Islamic group.“I’m not personally comfortable with it enough yet,” Patterson told GlobalPost in a quiet room on the sidelines of a dinner with journalists, activists and others hosted by GlobalPost and the Open Hands Initiative in Cairo. When pressed on why she felt uncomfortable, she said, “Well, I’m just not comfortable.” She said the Brotherhood’s support for free trade is encouraging, but that its less liberal stances on women’s rights and questions as to whether it would honor the 1978 Camp David peace treaty with Israel are troubling. “The Camp David peace agreement is absolutely critical to peace in this entire region. … If that does not succeed, you’ll have — all the rest of these issues will be immaterial,” said Patterson. “It’s really important, and it doesn’t have to be a great love affair, but it does have to be a peaceful relationship.

In June, Reuters had reported that the U.S. would resume formal contacts with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, citing an unidentified U.S. official. Another earlier post discussed a article by author and former Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Johnson yitled “Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood” in which he reviews the history of the US relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and its relevance to the current MIdeast crisis.

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.

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