CAIRO (AFP) – The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s influential Islamist opposition movement, will launch its own social networking site next month to promote moderate Islam, an official said on Wednesday.
Ikhwanbook.com, which is already up, was created by the Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo to “promote moderate Islam and clarify who we are,” said politburo member Mohammed Mursi.
The website, which has already attracted 5,000 members on a trial basis, will be formally launched next month after more technical work on it, he said.
It is open to anyone, but will not allow “indecent” groups to be created.
The Brotherhood, the largest Islamist opposition movement in the Muslim world, was founded in Egypt in 1928. Despite a ban on religious parties, it controls a fifth of seats in the country’s parliament through independents.
Its members are regularly arrested and charged with possessing literature belonging to a banned organisation. It advocates an Islamist state achieved through peaceful means.
“Technology is not banned for anyone,” said Mursi. “We use the Internet to ease communications between people and clarify who we are and what we want.”
The group has already launched other websites that mimic user-based sites such as YouTube and an online Brotherhood encyclopedia modelled on Wikipedia.
The website, however, has been criticised as limiting the group’s outreach.
“It’s not like Facebook. Facebook gives you more exposure,” said Abdelmoneim Mahmud, a journalist associated with reformists in the Brotherhood.
Websites like Facebook and Twitter have assumed an increasing role in the country’s vibrant opposition movement, with several demonstrations organised over the social networking sites this year.