News / Middle East

Egyptian Authorities Arrest Muslim Brotherhood Leader

FILE - Essam el-Erian, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, speaks during Egypt's Shura Council meeting in Cairo, May 25, 2013.
FILE - Essam el-Erian, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, speaks during Egypt's Shura Council meeting in Cairo, May 25, 2013.
VOA News
Egyptian authorities have arrested a key Muslim Brotherhood leader, continuing a crackdown against the group following the military's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Security forces detained Essam el-Erian, the deputy leader of the Brotherhood's political wing (the Freedom and Justice Party), at his hideout Wednesday in the eastern suburb of New Cairo.

Hours later police took control of the main building of al-Azhar University - the country's top institution for Islamic teachings - after protesting students besieged and attacked the offices of the university's chief administrator.

Students at al-Azhar have been demonstrating for weeks in support of Morsi, whom the army toppled in July after mass protests against his rule.

El-Erian had been in hiding since the July coup and was one of the few top Brotherhood officials who had remained free.

VOA's Al Pessin interviewed him in July 2011 about the Brotherhood’s plans to become a force in Egyptian politics and government after decades as a banned organization.

The spiritual leader said that his party wanted "to achieve 30-to-35 percent of seats [in parliament].  With other electoral allies and coalitions, of course we are working for a majority with others.  And this can give this alliance the ability to nominate not only the prime minister but the whole cabinet.”

El-Erian and others in the Brotherhood’s political wing promoted the idea that it believed in a moderate approach to Islam and politics.  But when it got into power, many Egyptians did not see it that way, and many supported the military coup this past July.

Hundreds of Brotherhood leaders, including Morsi, have been arrested since his ouster and charged with inciting violence.  The deposed leader's supporters have carried out mass protests demanding he be reinstated. 

Some of the demonstrations have turned violent.  More than 1,000 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in the clashes and crackdown. 

Morsi, in detention at an undisclosed military location, is accused of inciting violence that caused the deaths of other protesters in June.  His trial is set to open November 4.

El-Erian is also a defendant in the Morsi trial.

His arrest came just hours after three judges presiding over the trial of 35 Brotherhood members stepped down after security agencies refused to let the defendants attend the courtroom sessions.

The move - a sharp pushback from within the establishment over the conduct of the trial - means a new set of judges will be assigned and the proceedings will have to start over.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 30, 2013 9:24 AM
The interim administration is moving in the right direction. If Essam el-Erian has been unable to bring sanity to the Brotherhood over all this time he has been free, then there is no point allowing him to continue to be free, because if he is not with the people and government of Egypt, he is with the terrorist brotherhood - after all we have seen how un-brotherly they have been in unleashing terror in the country when their true color is exposed by the little shaking. Since under his control the brotherhood has remained violent and has terrorized the country, maybe it is safer to cage him, which is also a trial and error approach - after all the Muslim Brotherhood is banned and it's illegal to continue to operate an outlawed outfit in the country.

As for the judges resigning, it is democratic not to work understand circumstances that one disagrees with. If they insist on seeing those on trial face to face while the authorities think otherwise on grounds of insecurity, then let them resign and go in peace. For everyone understands how volatile Egypt is at the moment wherein a sighting of those 35 MB members to be tried can only cause an escalation. While we say the judges have not worked in the best interest of the country, we know too they can be allowed the choice to partake or not. Which is a plus for the interim administration to allow them freedom of choice.

by: Sani Aliyu Hunkuyi(Mr.) from: Nigeria
October 30, 2013 7:43 AM
I commend the three judges presiding over the trial of 35 Brotherhood members for stepping down, saying they felt "uneasy" about the proceedings but giving no specific details. If it were me the specific details would have been the fear of Allah. It is wrong to harass Muslim Brotherhood for no offence except that they said their Lord is Allah and they want Allah's shari'a (Laws) to be the guiding principles of running their government. May Allah bless Mr. Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei for the good example of disassociating himself from the blood thirsty Military dictators of Egypt. A true Muslim believes that the beauty of what Allah keeps for believers in the life after death is better than the Worldly things in this World and therefore one should try to leave a good memory of himself in the minds of people he relates with while in this world.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the military side should both relax their hard stance for the sake of Allah with the hope to get reward from Allah. The recommendation of payment for compensation, the money may come from rich Islamic Countries like Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia should offer to compensate in monetary terms, those who lost their lives and properties and support the Muslims to enshrine Shari'a laws in governing the Muslims of Egypt. Shari'a law is only applicable on Muslims without affecting the right of Non-Muslims. I invite you to Zamfara State of Nigeria to clarify the fact that in truly Shari'a compliant governments the Christians or Jews or other Non-Muslims will not be affected by running a government in compliance to Shari'a /Islamic laws. The Christians Association of Nigeria in Zamfara State will testify to that fact.
In Response

by: hassan Nahaasan from: Nigeria
October 30, 2013 10:34 PM
Sharia law is an oppressive medeival legal system that right thinking muslims hate with their blood not to talk about the peace loving christians who do not want to stay where sharia is mentioned much more practised. Sani may be living outside Nigeria and that explains his ignorance about the sufferings of christians in Zamfara state where church permits are never issued and christians are forced to wear the sharia hijab and people are constantly being harassed by the sharia police. The only people that want sharia are the islamist who do not recognise the right or existence of other religious adherants and the terrorist who likes to bring misery to humans as the only way to control and dominate. The Judges would not have acted the way they did under the mind controlling dictatorial sharia laws.May the Lord increase Assisi and all peace lovers all over the world who hate oppression and terror in the name of religion.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs