News / Africa

Protests Continue in Egypt; Muslim Brotherhood Joins Crisis Talks

A general view of Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, center back, meeting with leaders of Egyptian parties and the Muslim brotherhood leadership in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011
A general view of Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman, center back, meeting with leaders of Egyptian parties and the Muslim brotherhood leadership in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011
TEXT SIZE - +

Egypt's largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, is participating in unprecedented talks with the government, as protesters calling for an end to President Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30-year rule rallied for a 13th day.

Demonstrators are preventing the army from clearing even a part of Tahrir square, the epicenter of nearly two weeks of anti-government protests. Some have turned themselves into human shields in front of tanks. But the army is not using force. In fact, its blockades are helping to protect the protesters.

Calling this the "Day of Martyrs," Muslims and Coptic Christians offered prayers for the hundreds of pro-democracy activists killed since their uprising began on January 25.

The newly appointed Egyptian vice president, Omar Suleiman, met with a coalition of opposition groups, including representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian government officials have never before openly met the Islamist group, which is officially banned in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest opposition faction, but did not take a leading role in the protests. Many of its members fought in recent days' street battles against Mubarak supporters.

One protester on Tahrir Square says he worries the group's ultimate aim is to turn Egypt into an Islamic state.

"I'm Muslim, but I do not like Iran, like Hezbollah or something like that," he said.

Although the group is banned, its members have run as independents in elections. In 2005, they captured around 20 percent of the vote. The Muslim Brotherhood leads a peaceful political and social movement aimed at forming an Islamic state.

But the group now is deliberately taking a back seat in the protests. A spokesman has credited young Egyptians with starting the uprising. And several days ago, the group said it will not field a candidate in the next presidential election.

"What else can they do? They issued a statement, they participated in the last Parliament, they did not talk about Sharia or even an Islamic state, stuff like that, but [talked about] defending the people's demands," said Fahmy Howeidy, a columnist for the daily newspaper, Shorouk. "And they are still doing that."

After nearly two weeks of unrest, life is beginning to return to normal in Egypt. Banks and businesses reopened for at least a few hours. But a key opposition leader, Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, is warning that the protests could get what he called "more vicious" if Mubarak continues in power.

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

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid