Egyptian media is reporting on the inception of what is described as a new businessman’s association established by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. According to an Ahram Online report:
Ahram Online, Tuesday 28 Feb 2012 A new businessmen association, founded by Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leader Hassan Malek, will kick off its activities on 24 March in an “international business conference”, according to Ikhwan Online the brotherhood’s official website. The Egyptian Business Development Association (EBDA) holds in its board of directors the membership of several prominent MB businessmen; including Safwan Thabet of Juhayna group and Mohamed Moamen of Mo’men group. “it [the association]is not exclusive for one political group,” Ahmed Abdel Hafez, EBDA board member and chairperson of Ifilms Media Production said. “All businessmen who want to help make an economic revolution in Egypt are welcome.” EBDA, which also means ‘start’ in Arabic, says on its website its mission is to “enable businessmen to contribute effectively in boosting the Egyptian economy by attracting and encouraging investment, human development, providing projects and developmental solutions along with the participation in decision making and economic legislation.” Hassan Malek, the founder of EBDA, is a prominent brotherhood figure with several commercial and industrial ventures including furniture business “Istiqbal” and garment maker “Sarar”. Malek took the spotlight last October when he told Reuters that the economic policies in force during Hosni Mubarak’s rule were on the right track, but were overshadowed by blatant corruption and a culture of favoritism. With the fall of Mubarak’s rule and the ascension of the Muslim Brotherhood to the forefront of Egyptian politics, which was confirmed in the parliamentary elections, Malek expected a rise of MB business people. “We avoided opening big factories and companies because it was easy for the regime to net us … and we could not grow our business then,” Malek said. “That has changed,” Malek added.
The Müstakil Sanayici ve ??adamlar? Derne?i (MÜS?AD) was founded in 1990 by religiously-devout entrepreneurs with ties to Prime Minister Ozal or to the Islamist Necmettin Erbakan and as an alternative to TUSIAD, the organization representingthe secular middle class. MÜS?AD fused a pro-business philosophy with an Islamic critique of capitalism, seeking to replace it with a system based on Islam. MÜS?AD issupported by Prime Minister Erdogan, is pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel, and has a stron grelationship with the Middle East through its Foreign Relations division, at one time headed by Gazi Misirli, a Turk of Syrian origin who joined MÜS?AD in 1998. Misirlicame to Turkey in either 1983 or 1987 and studied engineering at Istanbul University. He is a trustee of the Europe Trust, an arm of the Federation of Islamic Organizationsin Europe (FIOE), which has amassed a real-estate portfolio and uses part of the income to fund FIOE projects. All of the trustees, including Ibrahim El-Zayat, are leaders inthe European Muslim Brotherhood. Misirli appears to have close ties to Prime Minister Erdogan