News / Middle East

Egypt's Brotherhood Looks Back, Islamist Rivals Look Ahead

FILE - A woman walks past a campaign banner for the Nour party ahead of parliamentary elections, in Cairo,  November 27, 2011.FILE - A woman walks past a campaign banner for the Nour party ahead of parliamentary elections, in Cairo, November 27, 2011.
x
FILE - A woman walks past a campaign banner for the Nour party ahead of parliamentary elections, in Cairo,  November 27, 2011.
FILE - A woman walks past a campaign banner for the Nour party ahead of parliamentary elections, in Cairo, November 27, 2011.
Reuters
While Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood looks back in anger at its military removal from power, an ultra-orthodox Islamist party is looking forward in hope to replacing it in voters' favor.

Yet far from celebrating the downfall of its larger rival, the Nour Party, which sits on the religious right of the political spectrum, is weighing the cost of Brotherhood mistakes it says have weakened the entire Islamist movement.

Courted by the army that toppled president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's second biggest Islamic force has wielded decisive influence over the choice of a new premier, vetoing the first two liberal candidates.

But Nour's leader is surprisingly downbeat for a politician whose main rival has just been dealt such a major blow robbing it of a string of 2012 election victories.

“There is no doubt that the Islamist current in general has lost a lot because of the Brotherhood's failure in managing the past period,” Younes Makhyoun said in an interview.

“I do not think the Islamist movement will achieve what it achieved before because of these erroneous practices,” he told Reuters by telephone.

Islamist groups expect to secure nothing like the 65 percent of the vote they won in parliamentary elections 18 months ago. Under the army's transition plan, new parliamentary polls will be held in about six months' time.

“The Islamists will be reduced to their natural size - no more than 25 to 30 percent,” said Kamal Habib, a former member of a Muslim militant group.

Nour believes the Islamists' popularity, in retreat even before Morsi was elected, has been further dented by the failures of Morsi's one year in office and the bloodshed resulting from its unceremonious termination.

Makhyoun was also sharply critical of the Brotherhood for pushing to the fore hardliners who had used violent rhetoric in recent weeks, saying that had further sapped the appeal of Islamists in Egyptian society.
 
Political newcomer
 
Established after the 2011 uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak, Nour is 84 years the Brotherhood's junior.

It emerged from the Dawa Salafia, a quietist religious movement based in Alexandria - a party stronghold today - that believed in saving souls rather than seeking power. Nour claims 800,000 members, nearly as many as the Brotherhood's membership.

Advocating a puritanical vision of Islam, it used its foothold in officialdom to press for Islamist-inspired changes to the constitution last year. It then lobbied for their application, demanding, for example, that a law allowing Egypt to issue Islamic bonds be sent to Muslim clerics for approval.

Having aligned itself with the Brotherhood at key moments in 2012, it distanced itself from the movement this year, echoing opposition accusations that Morsi was staging a power grab.

As the political crisis deepened this year, Nour positioned itself as a would-be mediator. Its more nimble approach has given it huge leverage over the army-mapped transition that the Brotherhood has vowed to boycott.

Hazem el-Beblawi, the economist named interim prime minister on Tuesday, owes his job to Nour's rejection of other liberal politicians initially suggested for the position.

The army is going out of its way to satisfy Nour as the only Islamist party that signed up to its roadmap, isolating the Brotherhood and giving the new authorities Islamist credentials.

A decree setting the rules for the period of interim rule includes Islamist-tinged language sought by Nour and opposed by liberals.

“We value the Nour party position very much and we see a future for this party in Egypt,” said a military source, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with army rules.

Yet Nour's approach also brings risks. Other Islamist allies say it has sold out - an accusation that may damage its standing, particularly after more than 55 people were shot dead when the army opened fire on pro-Morsi protesters.

The army says it was firing back at terrorists who attacked its troops. The Brotherhood says those killed were praying peacefully.

Responding to rage in Islamist circles over Monday's killings, Nour announced it would withdraw from the army's roadmap. But it still kept one foot in the process. Though Nour says it does not seek any posts in cabinet, spokesman Nader Bakkar said it would offer the cabinet advice.

Assem Abdel Maged, one of the Brotherhood's hardline allies, told a crowd of Morsi supporters that Nour's leaders must seek repentance from God for what he called their betrayal.

Necessity versus choice

Makhyoun described the Nour's decision to cooperate with the army's plans as stemming from necessity rather than choice.

By taking part in the process the Brotherhood is shunning, Nour says it is giving voice to Islamist concerns and has been able to resist a wide expansion of liberal influence in the new, unelected administration.

Nour is trying to revive its mediation effort, though Makhyoun said communicating with the Brotherhood right now was “difficult.” The party has proposed a committee of “wise men” to promote reconciliation and agree on a new transition plan acceptable to all.

But it may struggle to convince its base of the merits of the approach. “The passions are running high in the Islamist movement - the sense that this was a coup against the Islamists - puts the Nour's base under pressure,” said Habib, the analyst.

“They are in a delicate position,” he added.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid