Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Abolishing the Muslim Brotherhood: A Big Mistake | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Abolishing the Muslim Brotherhood, a political, ideological, social and economic trend is somewhat impossible even if the Egyptian president endorses such a decision himself.

The Muslim Brotherhood is not a company whose activities can be stopped at the order of the government; rather the movement represents an oppositional ideology, or a number of groups of society consisting of 70 million people, characterized by dynamism and plurality. Therefore, there is no doubt that abolishing the Muslim Brotherhood from political activity would not stop the organization. It would weaken the position of the state in building disciplined political trends.

One must agree with the state’s rejection to the opportunistic methods of the movement that exploits religion to raise money, win votes, provoke feelings and divide society. The exploitation of religion in politics is unacceptable unless that society accepts division based on religion. However, in the case of Egypt, the majority of society follows Islam including the government and opposition parties.

The government could have codified partisanship and freed it from the exploitation of religion, imposing conditions on membership and opening the door to complaints whenever a violation takes place within parties. This would support competition, alliances, and widen the circle of political activity and reduce the role of the government in society by concentrating on the market.

As for any attempts to abolish a historical, deep-rooted and popular movement such as the Muslim Brotherhood, these will undoubtedly fail. Such a move would increase confrontation and weaken the value of political reform that has characterized the era of President Hosni Mubarak.

The Egyptian state has a long road ahead of it to achieve administrative development, which could push the country towards a more swift and effective government that provides what is requested.

Planners and advisors of the presidency are presented with an opportunity to provide fresh ideas to attract the opposition such as the Muslim Brotherhood and independent leftists, and grant them the chance to work and participate rather than constricting and pursuing them. This is if authority, represented by the leadership, really wants success for itself, which is success for the entire country. However, if the leadership believes that it can monopolize all of authority and the political arena, then I must say that it is too late. President Mubarak has begun the project of political openness and has opened the door to parties and freedoms. It is too late to go back to the days of Jamal Abd-Nasser when the arena was divided between those in power and those in prison. The idea of returning to the era of the single-party was abolished by President Mubarak and it is not possible to go back on this. Furthermore, he is the one who gave the Muslim Brotherhood a chance, yet it abused the opportunity with its insistence on dividing society into the Muslim Brotherhood on one hand and infidel others on the other hand.

The situation in Egypt does not call for abolishment but rather creative research into ideas for partnership and not hegemony.