News / Middle East

Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Wins Support by Helping Poor

El Farouk Hospital in suburban Cairo is where the Muslim Brotherhood is winning hearts in Egypt
El Farouk Hospital in suburban Cairo is where the Muslim Brotherhood is winning hearts in Egypt

Multimedia

The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is the country's best organized opposition group.  Its members took part in the protests that swept Hosni Mubarak from power, but they did not dominate them.  Instead, the brotherhood, still banned, works behind the scenes to win support and pave the way for what its leaders hope is the eventual imposition of Sharia law in the Arab world's most populous nation.

This is where the Muslim Brotherhood is winning hearts in Egypt.

El Farouk Hospital in suburban Cairo:

Like other facilities, it does not admit to receiving aid from the brotherhood, but the banned group directed VOA to this hospital.

Hospital Director Dr. Magdi Ahmed Abdel Aziz says the hospital serves everyone,  especially the poor.  “We get upper class people, especially in the emergency room.  We get cases of poor people because our costs are subsidized with aid from donors,”  Aziz said.

The hospital heals bodies, but it also provides for the spiritual needs of patients.  This is why lawyer Ismail Mohamed Ismail had his surgery here.


“If you look behind you, the televisions are playing verses from the holy Quran.  The staff are doing their jobs, considering God in their conscience and I feel comfortable and anything related to Islam makes me feel psychologically relieved,”  Ismail said.

El Farouk and other Islamic donor-funded hospitals provide medical care for many poor Egyptians when government aid falls short.

“The health ministry provides care, but its budget cannot cover the services,” Aziz said.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not a jihadist organization. It wants gradual transformation.  However, the group's former head, Mohamed Mahdi Akef, says its aim is clear. “Islam should rule Egypt,” he said.

Hosni Mubarak's departure and the prospect of free and fair elections may open a new opportunity for the group.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders hope the good will it has cultivated among some of Egypt's poor will bear fruit at election time, if the group is allowed to participate.

Patient Ismail Mohamed Ismail declines to say if he would vote for Brotherhood candidates. He is not sure if imposing Sharia in Egypt will ever be necessary.  

“In the 70s, during the time of the late Presidents Nasser and Sadat, people were wearing short skirts, but their faith was stronger. Now, more people are wearing hijab but they are empty of faith. I hope people will have more faith, like before. I hope religion will come back to people, more than before,” Ismail said.

Banned from politics for decades, the Muslim Brotherhood has won ground in places like El Farouk Hospital. Its next challenge may be winning wider support across Egypt.

 

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid