News / Middle East

Analysts: Acts of New Government to Determine Fate of Political Islam in Egypt

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists gesture from the defendants cage as they receive sentences after they were convicted of murder, rioting, and violence in a mass trial in Alexandria, Egypt, May 19, 2014.
Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists gesture from the defendants cage as they receive sentences after they were convicted of murder, rioting, and violence in a mass trial in Alexandria, Egypt, May 19, 2014.
Heather Murdock
Egyptians on Monday are expected elect a pro-military leader as president. Analysts say the Muslim Brotherhood, once the most powerful party in Egypt may appear to be defeated and divided. But they say Islamist parties will always play a role in Egyptian politics. 
 
For the past year, Egypt has been described in the news as “polarized,” with supporters of the military on one side and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood on the other.  
 
This week marks the ultimate victory for the military, with the country’s de-facto leader, former army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, widely expected to be elected president.  
 
The Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist party of ousted President Mohamed Morsi, is now banned as a "terrorist organization."
 
Wael Eskandar is an Egyptian blogger who focuses on human rights and politics.  He said Morsi's rule was deeply unpopular and the public has not forgiven the Brotherhood.

“Right now they’re still rejected by the Egyptian public because they are a threat to their own identity.  They handled the time they were in power really horribly- did not bring about any change,” said Eskandar.

He said for the Brotherhood to stay relevant it would first need to regain the public’s trust.  In the current political climate, he said, this largely depended on the new government's failure or success in two main areas. He said if the new government failed to rescue Egypt’s economy or respect human rights, the public may look back to the Muslim Brotherhood for support.

“It will take failure from the state for them to sympathize with them politically because they will be the opposition they turn to when the police has arrested you, assaulted you and you cannot get what’s rightfully yours, which is justice, through the legal channels,” said Eskandar.  
 
Presidential hopeful Abdel Fattah el-Sissi arrives to a polling site to cast his ballot on the first day of voting in Cairo, Egypt, May 26, 2014.Presidential hopeful Abdel Fattah el-Sissi arrives to a polling site to cast his ballot on the first day of voting in Cairo, Egypt, May 26, 2014.
x
Presidential hopeful Abdel Fattah el-Sissi arrives to a polling site to cast his ballot on the first day of voting in Cairo, Egypt, May 26, 2014.
Presidential hopeful Abdel Fattah el-Sissi arrives to a polling site to cast his ballot on the first day of voting in Cairo, Egypt, May 26, 2014.

Under Sissi’s rule, thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members have been killed or imprisoned.  Opposition groups affiliated with the Brotherhood have been banned, journalists have been jailed and protests have been severely restricted.  
 
Mohammad Othman is a member of the political bureau of Strong Egypt, a political party that identifies with neither the military nor the Brotherhood.  
 
He said the crackdown on the Brotherhood could also empower the group.  Even if the public were politically unsympathetic to the Brotherhood, he said, they were increasingly personally sympathetic.
 
However, alliances in Egypt are shifting, with Islamist party Al-Nour and Coptic Christian leaders supporting Sissi.  The Muslim Brotherhood, along with some non-Islamist parties, have called for members to boycott the elections.  
 
Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher who specializes in religious freedom issues for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, said Sissi’s popularity has been waning in recent months.  But, he said these divisions could help cement his power base.  
 
Ibrahim siad while political Islam had and would always play a role in Egyptian politics, the Brotherhood also needed to re-shape its image if it wanted to gather allies.  
 
In 2011, youth activists groups partnered with the Brotherhood in the revolution.  But after the disappointment of Morsi’s rule, many youth activists initially supported Sissi.  Nowadays, many of these same activists have since changed their minds, saying they support neither the military, nor the Islamists.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs