The Washington Post is reporting on how the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is using its longstanding charity networks to gain support in the upcoming Egyptian elections. According to the report:
November 7, 2011The weekend’s Islamic holiday, which centres on sacrifice and feeding the poor, offered the Muslim Brotherhood a golden opportunity. For the first time, Egypt’s Islamist powerhouse is able to campaign openly under a new party banner, and it is using its long-standing charity networks to gain an edge over more liberal and secular candidates before parliamentary elections scheduled to begin in two weeks. Across the country last week, the movement’s political and charitable machine was selling discounted meat and vegetables to families who otherwise could not afford the traditional rituals for Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice. Critics call it vote-buying, but the Brotherhood says social services are its historic conduit to the people.
In a poor district of Cairo on Friday, families crowded outside the neighbourhood mosque as volunteers for the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party yelled out prices on discounted potatoes, lemons, green beans and other vegetables. Sewage ran through potholed streets, and garbage was piled high. Many families in the neighbourhood share one-room dwellings that serve as their kitchen, bedroom and living room. Nawal Sleem, 40, pushed through the crowd to order vegetables.
Read the rest here.