Entries in Muslim Brotherhood (10)


Egypt's Ambassador to the US Defends Ousting of President Morsi

ABC(CAIRO) -- Despite delays to name an interim prime minister and days of violent protests, Egypt's ambassador to the U.S. Mohamed Tawfik defended the military's ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, telling ABC's This Week it wasn't the army who took over but the army acting on behalf of the people.

“Egypt has not undergone a military coup and it is certainly not run by the military,” Tawfik said Sunday. “Today there is an interim president in place.”

Tawfik said that they plan to form a new government that represents the people of Egypt, something he claims Morsi did not do. “President Morsi did not act in the interests of the vast majority of Egyptians, he only looked at his own clique. You can't be a democratically-elected president and act that way,” the ambassador said.

He called upon the Muslim Brotherhood to come back to the negotiating table, acknowledge the mistakes they made and then join in the efforts to create a brighter future for Egypt.

“There is room for everyone in Egypt but there is no room for violence,” Tawfik said. “There is no room for incitement to hatred and incitement to commit acts of violence.”

The Muslim Brotherhood sees the situation quite differently.

“It's military junta,” said Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad , who denounced the military's move as a coup against democracy. “Tanks on the streets, troops on protests, military people shooting civilians, I mean it's every ingredient of a full police state. I mean what else are people waiting for?” he told ABC News.

“I lived most of my life under the oppressive state of Mubarak, my father did the same under different regimes, my grandfather did the same, it's been too long and this country has been robbed for its freedoms. I'm not willing to let my son and my daughter inherit this state in that mess.”

El-Haddad said that he, and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, were willing to die for their cause.

“I will stand in front of that tank even if it rolls on our dead bodies,” he said. “There is no plan B. We will stick by our principles. We either return the president back to his rightful place, or they are just going to have to shoot us in the street.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


More Than One Hundred Injured in Tahrir Square Protests

AFP/GettyImages(CAIRO) -- More than 100 people were injured during protests on the streets of Cairo, as thousands of demonstrators congregated in Tahrir Square.

Supporters of Egypt's new Islamist president Mohammed Morsi have clashed with liberal protesters in Cairo, throwing rocks and setting fires, in the first violent unrest since Morsi took office...

And it's been just over one hundred days in for President Morsi, but problems including a faltering economy and fuel shortages persist and fester.

His supporters say he needs more time and patience from the Egyptian people in order to overcome the mistakes made by former president Hosni Mubarak.

One issue in particular is angering liberal groups. They want more diversity on the panel tasked with writing Egypt's new constitution, which is packed with Brotherhood members, who have proposed provisions that opponents say greatly suppress civil liberties.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Egypt’s President-Elect to Be ‘Judged by Actions, Not Religious Affiliation’

AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that he’d heard the criticism that Egypt’s choice to elect a Muslim Brotherhood candidate to the presidency showed that the Arab Spring was a debacle, but he cautioned that, “we judge individuals and parties that are elected in a democratic process by their actions, not by their religious affiliation.”

Critics of the Muslim Brotherhood have pointed out that the group has called Israel an "enemy entity" and has celebrated jihad against the West. The Obama administration has painted the Muslim Brotherhood as a "moderate" group.

“We hope President-Elect (Mohammed) Morsi will take steps to advance national unity, uphold universal values and respect the rights of all Egyptian citizens including women and religious minorities such as Coptic Christians,” Carney said, reading a statement aboard Air Force One Monday.

He said that concerns about relations with Israel being hurt should be tempered by the fact that Morsi acknowledged Egypt would continue to uphold its treaty obligations with the Israelis. As for Iran? Carney wouldn’t say the U.S. would urge or demand that Egypt steer clear of formal relations with Iran but suggested that it’s, "perfectly appropriate for a nation like Egypt to have relations with its neighbors but again we look to Egypt to continue its significant role as a pillar of regional peace and stability."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Millions of Egyptians Take Part In Historic Election

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images(CAIRO) -- Egyptians took to the polls en masse Monday, eager to participate in the first parliamentary elections since the ousting of longtime President Hosni Mubarak last February. Although many feared the elections would be marred by violence, this has not been the case, with many reports indicating a sense of optimism and goodwill in the air.

"People are really taking part this time, people want to be heard," said 25-year-old Lamia Habib, a dentist and first-time voter who had come to the polls with her cousin and two friends.

Her cousin, Zena Sallam, agreed. "If we ask for a democratic process we have to be a part of it. Otherwise our demands would be null and void. If we don't come out here and make our voices heard then we really don't have the right to ask for anything," Sallam said.

The election went ahead despite worries that anger over renewed clashes between pro-democracy protesters in Tahrir Square and the country's military rulers could mar the turnout.

The turnout, however, was enthusiastic providing stark contrast to elections under Mubarak, which were characterized by widespread voter apathy amid allegations of ballot stuffing, bribery, and voter intimidation by the government.

This year voters instead faced long lines resulting from thousands of Egyptians who showed up early at polling stations across the country -- lines that prompted authorities to extend the elections up to two hours in some areas.

These elections, which are the first of three designed to transfer power from the temporary military government to a more permanent, civilian-run one, could provide a strong indicator of what's in store for Egypt in the near future.

The Muslim Brotherhood, despite being banned under the Mubarak regime, has emerged with a strongly organized political machine and is expected to make big gains in the parliamentary elections, prompting fears of rising Islamism from leftist Egyptian parties and Western allies alike.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


US to Allow Some Talks with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood

Alex Wong/Getty Images(BUDAPEST, Hungary) -- Secretary Clinton confirmed reports Thursday that the U.S. has authorized its diplomats in Egypt to engage in low-level talks with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which stands to gain influence in this fall’s elections.
“We believe, given the changing political landscape in Egypt, that it is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are peaceful and committed to nonviolence, that intend to compete for the parliament and the presidency.  And we welcome, therefore, dialogue with those Muslim Brotherhood members who wish to talk with us,” she told reporters in Hungary Thursday, noting that there have been some contacts with the group in recent years.
“In any of those contacts, prior or future, we will continue to emphasize the importance of and support for democratic principles, and especially a commitment to nonviolence, respect for minority rights, and the full inclusion of women in any democracy.  You cannot leave out half the population and claim that you are committed to democracy.  So I think that the importance here is that this is not a new policy, but it is one that we are re-engaging in because of the upcoming elections, but there will be certain expectations set and certain messages delivered, and we hope that the move toward democracy that is taking place in Egypt will actually result in the kind of inclusive, participatory political system that we would like to see,” Clinton added.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


National Intelligence Director's Office 'Clarifies' Remarks On Muslim Brotherhood

Photo Courtesy - DNI dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- The director of the Office of National Intelligence, James Clapper,  told a House Intelligence Committee hearing Thursday that the Egyptian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood -- which seeks Egypt to become an Islamic state ruled by sharia law -- is “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”

Jamie Smith, director of the office of public affairs for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, later said in a statement to ABC News, “To clarify Director Clapper’s point -- in Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood makes efforts to work through a political system that has been, under Mubarak’s rule, one that is largely secular in its orientation -- he is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization.”

How much the Muslim Brotherhood has eschewed violence and decried al Qaeda is subject to debate. Critics of the group point to its ties with Hamas, a terrorist organization according to the U.S. State Department, for instance.

A Council on Foreign Relations background on the Muslim Brotherhood recently stated that “like other mass social movements, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood is hardly a monolith; it comprises hardliners, reformers, and centrists, notes terrorism expert Lydia Khalil.  And some hardline leaders have voiced support for al Qaeda or use of violent jihad. For instance, as recently as 2006, Khalil points out, a member of Brotherhood elected to parliament, Ragib Hilal Hamida, voiced support for terrorism in the face of Western occupation. Instances like these raise questions over the group's commitment to nonviolence.

In December, Clapper raised eyebrows when he couldn’t answer a question from ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer about the arrests of 12 suspected terrorists in London hours before.

After initially claiming Sawyer’s question was too “ambiguous,” the Obama administration acknowledged that the retired Air Force lieutenant general had not been briefed about the arrests at the time of the interview.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Former Ambassador Pickering: US Sentiments on Muslim Brotherhood

Photo Courtesy - ABC News (WASHINGTON) -- The certainty that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is leaving office has driven fears of who and what might replace him, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist movement that -- as President Obama put it Sunday -- has an “anti-U.S.” ideology and has announced that it plans to participate in the development of a new government.

Thomas Pickering -- who served as ambassador to the United Nations as well as Jordan and Israel -- told ABC News that while Americans should be concerned about the role the Muslim Brotherhood will play in the next Egyptian government, the organization is highly unlikely to wrest control.

“They should be concerned but we should not be panicked,” Pickering told ABC News. “They represent a group. They are divided into many different parts. They have radicals who speak of Islamic fundamentalist state as their objective. They have moderates who have even morphed off onto political parties....”

“The Muslim Brotherhood should participate, but obviously not as a majority,” he added. “And one would hope in free and fair elections the bulk of Egyptians would continue to support what the polls say to us they seem to believe.”

Concerns about what might come next, Pickering said, shouldn’t be used to justify Mubarak’s continued hold on power.

Other countries in the region -- chiefly Yemen, Jordan, and Sudan -- should be concerned about the fervor that’s engulfed Egypt spreading to them, Pickering said.

And the Israelis are particularly worried about the events in Egypt, since Mubarak’s Egypt has been a rare staunch ally in the Arab world.

“They're nervous,” Pickering said. “They're in some cases anguished about the situation. They fear contagion. But they also fear that somehow there will be enough change in Egypt to put in people who will radically wish to divorce themselves from the peace treaty with Egypt. I think that that's less likely.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt: Vice President Offers Concessions to Muslim Brotherhood

Photo Courtesy - Tara Todras-Whitehill-Pool/Getty ImagesREPORTER'S NOTEBOOK

(CAIRO) -- Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman met with representatives from Egypt's opposition groups on Sunday, including the banned Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest party.

Egypt state television is reporting that Suleiman is offering the groups concessions, including freedom of the press, term limits to the presidency and the end of the country's emergency law.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in Egypt in 1954, did not send high-level leaders to the meetings, but said they agreed to go to test the government's intentions: to see if it is serious about reforms or if this is just an act.

After the meeting, I spoke with Dr. Khalil el-Gazar of the Muslim Brotherhood high council.

El-Gazar said the Muslim Brotherhood "were surprised" during Sunday's historic first meeting with the government when Suleiman stood for a minute to respect those killed in this revolution.  El-Gazar told me Suleiman said the government was wrong for what they did in the uprising and in the past.

During the meeting, Suleiman promised to stop harassing anti-government protesters and not pursue or punish them.  This may help thin the crowds in Liberation Square, because many are afraid to leave in case the government hunts them down.

El-Gazar said Egypt will keep its peace treaty with Israel in the future "because this is of value to the people of Egypt.  We don't want to break something of value to the people of Egypt."  He also said there must be peace in the Palestinian state.

Responding to U.S. fears of the Muslim Brotherhood, el-Gazar said, "We have good feelings towards the Western countries, but Islamophobia spread all over the Western countries," he said.  "We are astonished.  Why?"

In my exclusive interview with President Hosni Mubarak earlier this week, he blamed the Muslim Brotherhood for the violence in Tahrir Square during the protests.

El-Gazar countered that claim, saying that the Muslim Brotherhood are not fundamentalists, are not seeking a religious revolution and are not seeking the presidency themselves.  He said it was the young people who led the revolution in Egypt, not the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Egypt: Lifting State of Emergency Would Be 'Significant,' Official Says

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAIRO) -- Egyptian Ambassador to the United States Sameh Shoukry responded to reports Sunday that Vice President Omar Suleiman, in his meeting with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood, came to a consensus to start talking about lifting the perpetual Egyptian state of emergency.

"It will be a very significant move," Shoukry said in an interview with ABC’s This Week. "It has been a longstanding demand of opposition and many segments of Egyptian society. To guarantee that all political activity is undertaken under confines of normal law and judiciary. It will be a significant step and indication of confidence that the political process is moving forward."

The emergency law allows agents of the government to arrest anyone without charge.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama on Egypt: Reform 'Absolutely Critical' in the Long Term

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Thursday reiterated that Egypt is an ally of the United States and that the he’s “always said” to President Hosni Mubarak that reform, both politically and economically, is essential for Egypt.

“Egypt's been an ally of ours on a lot of critical issues,” Obama said from the White House Thursday afternoon. “President Mubarak has been very helpful on a range of tough issues in the Middle East. But I've always said to him that making sure that they are moving forward on reform -- political reform, economic reform -- is absolutely critical to the long-term well being of Egypt.”

The president’s comments Thursday came during a YouTube town hall, where he was asked via a video submission what he thought of the Egyptian government blocking social networks during the protests this week. After being shown some YouTube videos from this week in Cairo, President Obama said that you can see the “pent-up frustrations” being displayed on the streets.

“My main hope right now is, is that violence is not the answer in solving these problems in Egypt.  So the government has to be careful about not resorting to violence, and the people on the streets have to be careful about not resorting to violence. “

The president said that it is also important that people have mechanisms in order to express “legitimate grievances.”

Anti-Mubarak protests have spread throughout Egypt this week and the country is bracing itself for an even bigger outpouring of anger as the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group, has called for a “day of rage” on Friday. On Thursday Mohamed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who aspires to run for president against Mubarak, returned to Cairo to try to galvanize the largely leader-less demonstrations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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