Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood: A force to be feared?

by
February 1, 2011

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) — The scenes in Egypt have been dramatic, as thousands turn out onto the streets demanding that President Hosni Mubarak resign after 30 years in power.

Few images have been more powerful than those of demonstrators dropping to the ground to pray in the face of security forces. And while some have been inspired by the role of religious faith in the protests, there are definite worries that the banned Muslim Brotherhood is waiting in the wings, hoping for a chance to take over.

“You don’t just have a government and a movement for democracy,” former British Prime Minister Tony Blair cautioned on Monday. “You also have others, notably the Muslim Brotherhood, who would take this in a different direction. We need to be anxious to meet the aspirations of the people, but do it in a way that produces something better.”

Former Israeli diplomat Eli Avidar argues that elections put the militant Islamist Hamas movement in power in Gaza.

“President (George W.) Bush and (Secretary of State) Condi Rice pressured the State of Israel to allow democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority and what happened was that Hamas took over and these were the first and last democratic elections,” he said.

The Muslim Brotherhood could do the same thing in Egypt, he fears.

“If they go and take the leadership because of democratic elections, I believe that democracy will not continue in Egypt because the fact is, the second that they take power, they will not leave it,” he said.

But Egyptian analyst Mustafa Abulhimal says this is not the Muslim Brotherhood’s revolution.

“The Muslim Brotherhood are not behind the organization of the protests,” he said. “The Muslim Brotherhood are not inspiring the protests in the street. The Muslim Brotherhood are a small minority among those who are out on the street,” he said.

Islamists did take power in Iran 30 years ago, seizing control of a revolution originally backed by many different groups, including Communists and secular democrats.

To read more,visit: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/africa/01/31/egypt.muslim.brotherhood/?hpt=C2

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