Egypt’s army-backed government has deepened its efforts to suppress the country’s Muslim Brotherhood, after weeks of violent clashes between security forces and Brotherhood supporters of the country’s former president Mohammed Morsi left over 1,000 people dead. The government has announced that it is moving to formally dissolve the group as a registered non-governmental organization:
The move applies to the NGO registered by the Brotherhood in March in response to a lawsuit that argued the group had no legal status. It would mark a mostly symbolic legal blow to Mursi’s group as the authorities round up its members in the harshest crackdown in decades. The privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper said the decision would be taken “within days”, quoting Hany Mahana, spokesman for the minister of social solidarity.
Egypt in late August had already arrested the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Badie, detaining him at a residence in the Cairo neighborhood of Nasr City. The 70-year-old faces charges of inciting violence and murder, and reportedly suffered a heart attack in recent days.
Though Badie had eluded authorities for three weeks, hundreds of other Muslim Brotherhood officials had already been detained. Among them were Khairat al-Shater, Badie’s deputy and a one-time presidential candidate, and of course Morsi himself.
Morsi faces charges for fomenting violence. According to Egyptian media He was recently questioned over accusations that he “incit[ed] his Brotherhood followers to attack demonstrators with firearms and edged weapons.” Washington Institute fellow and Egypt expert Eric Trager has emphasized that the charges are legitimate.
Badie himself boasts a long history of extremist statements. He once described the United States as “experiencing the beginning of its end, and headed towards its demise.” He has lauded “resistance” – often a euphemism for violence and terrorism – as “the only solution against the Zio-American arrogance and tyranny.” He also at one point described Israel’s creation as the “worst catastrophe ever to befall the peoples of the world” and the “worst occupation known to man.”
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