RECOMMENDED READING: “For Muslim Brotherhood, A Painful Day Of Reckoning”


The Wall Street Journal has posted an articled titled “For Muslim Brotherhood, A Painful Day of Reckoning ” which summarizes and analyzes the recent events in Egypt regarding the Muslim Brotherhood. The article begins:

August 16, 2013 CAIRO—A month of deadly conflict between security forces and the mostly Islamist supporters of Egypt’s ousted president has battered the country’s once-powerful Muslim Brotherhood, leaving it with diminishing prospects for restoring its former pre-eminence.

At least 42 people were killed in clashes around Egypt on Friday, according to officials, in violence set off two days previously when police raids on Muslim Brotherhood protests in Cairo left hundreds dead, in modern Egypt’s worst violence in memory. As Brotherhood supporters defied martial law and faced off Friday with government security forces and civilians, leaders of the group upped the ante by announcing they were calling for a Week of Departure—protests aimed at ousting the head of Egypt’s armed forces, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.

But the group, which was the country’s most popular political force as recently as two years ago, now faces an openly hostile national media, shriveling public good will and a huge security apparatus intent on destroying it. Many of its leaders are in jail. Those who remain free have been driven underground—declining to appear in public even for Friday’s funeral of a top leader’s daughter.

Some of these leaders met in secret Friday, said one Brotherhood leader, to debate their ‘alternatives and next steps.’

Their moves appear limited. The group has called for its supporters to keep pressing for the reinstatement of Mohammed Morsi, the elected Muslim Brotherhood president who was removed by the military on July 3, spurring several deadly clashes in recent weeks with security forces.

By remaining on the streets, the group runs the risk of even more violence—a scenario that would not only antagonize the same polity that blessed them in elections, but also play into the government’s position, increasingly voiced by Egyptians, that its security forces are battling a terrorist menace intent on seizing the state and imposing Islamic law.

But ending the protests, group leaders say, would erode the organization’s claim to legitimacy. Since the Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s, it has sought to distinguish itself as a moderate Islamist organization deserving of a place in Egypt’s nascent democracy. Without a viable political outlet, Egypt risks seeing some of the Brotherhood’s vast membership radicalize and split off, said experts on political Islam.

Read the rest here.

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