Thursday, 8 August 2013

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Special Dispatch|5396| August 8, 2013

Following Mursi's Ouster, Dissenting Voices Emerge Within Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Along With Calls For General Guide's Removal


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Since Muhammad Mursi's removal from power in Egypt on July 3, 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) rank and file have begun calling for a revolt against the movement's leadership, and are accusing MB leaders of inciting to violence and bloodshed. Hundreds of MB activists, primarily from the movement's younger generation, have renounced their movement membership in protest against the demonstrations and sit-down strikes that the MB is holding in an attempt to restore Mursi to the presidency – demonstrations that frequently spill over into violence and have even claimed lives. The splinter groups are calling for the ouster of MB General Guide Dr. Muhammad Badi' and the members of his office, and demanding early elections to choose a more "enlightened" leadership, instead of the old leadership that, they say, has deviated from the movement's true path.
The most prominent of these splinter groups is Brotherhood Without Violence, with over 500 members, which is petitioning MB members to remove Badi' and members of his office and to hold early elections for the MB leadership. This group also advocates a halt to the pro-Mursi demonstrations and urges the demonstrators to return to their homes and reconcile with the fact of Mursi's ouster. According its members, it also opposes the current MB leadership, because it did not implement the Islamic shari'a after the MB came to power and also because it excluded the movement's young members from decision-making processes.
Other splinter groups are the Free Brotherhood Front and The Honorable Brothers Front, which are calling for a reorganization in the MB movement, and for prosecuting its current leaders and replacing them with a new leadership that will repair the damage caused by Badi' and his men.
It should be noted that following the January 25, 2011 revolution, there were also calls by MB youth for an internal revolution within the movement, but nothing came of them. At that time, they demanded recognition of the importance of young people and women within the MB, an increase in their share in its institutions, the dissolution of the General Guide's office and the movement's Shura Council, and free internal elections under legal supervision.[1] Also, several groups of young people seceded from the MB because they opposed the veteran leadership, including the Al-Tayyar Al-Masri, Al-Riyada and Al-Nahda groups.[2]
This report will review the groups that have recently split off from the MB and have called for the replacement of the movement's leadership.

Brotherhood Without Violence – Petitioning MB Members To Express No Confidence In Badi' And His Office

The Brotherhood Without Violence movement was established in July 2013, a few days after Mursi's ouster, by some 500 young MB members calling themselves "reformists" who proclaimed a "rebellion" against the MB leadership. The group is collecting MB signatures on a petition expressing no confidence in the General Guide's office and demanding a reelection of its members. This is reminiscent of the Tamarrud movement, which circulated a petition expressing no confidence in Mursi and calling for early elections to replace him.[3]
Brotherhood Without Violence opposes the sit-down strikes that the MB movement has been holding for the past month to express support for Mursi and to restore him to power. Likewise, it is protesting the MB leadership's order of priorities during the past year and the exclusion of young people from decision-making.
One member of the group said that the internal split in the MB was prompted by the young members' realization that the MB leadership had no vision for a solution to the current crisis in Egypt, that the demonstrations were futile and that it was best to go home and accept the reality, namely the fall of the MB government.[4] An announcement by the new movement stated: "Most young members of the MB have decided to depose the [General] Guide and the members of his office and to call for early elections to replace them."[5]
The movement's coordinator, Ahmad Yahya, noted that some of its 500 members have left the MB and some have remained within its ranks. He added: "We will go to the Raba'a Al-Adawiyya and Al-Nahda squares [in Cairo, where the MB's pro-Mursi protests take place,] in order to collect MB signatures and express no confidence in the General Guide's office.[6] He said that the MB leaders plan to continue the demonstrations and to undermine stability in Egypt in order to persuade citizens that life was better under Mursi's rule. Stating that Brigade 95[7] was responsible for the violence that took place opposite Badi's office in Cairo's Al-Muqattam neighborhood in early July, he added that Brotherhood Without Violence opposes any MB leader who incites to violence and exploits the Muslim religion. His movement's objective, he said, is to disseminate the principles of Islamic shari'a, which the MB failed to prioritize once it took power in the country.[8] In his opinion, the MB leadership failed at running the country because it did not include the Egyptian opposition, imposed its own view, and marginalized the young people.[9]
Petition circulated by the Brotherhood Without Violence movement (, July 28, 2013.)
According to Yahya, his movement had already collected 2,553 signatures on its petition,[10] and intends to deliver them to the global MB headquarters in Istanbul, with the demand that the General Guide's office be reelected. Should this demand be rejected, he said, the movement will unilaterally announce early elections for the General Guide's office unilaterally.[11] Yahya's list of potential candidates for replacing the current members of the General Guide's office includes Kamal Helbawi, who broke with the MB in March 2012 due to the movement's decision to run Khairat Al-Shater for president, and Dr. Helmy Al-Gazzar, a former MB representative on Egypt's Shura Council.[12]
However, on July 23, 2013, the Egyptian daily Al-Watan reported that even before the signatures had been submitted to the global MB organization, the latter announced its opposition to the move. The deputy general supervisor of the MB in Jordan, Zaki Bani Arshid, one of the leaders of the global MB, called the petition "an Arabian Nights movie that has no credibility and must not be accepted." In reply, Brotherhood Without Violence announced that it would appeal to the Egyptian government and judicial system to ask it to take control of the MB headquarters in Egypt.[13]
On July 23, 2013, Yahya announced that pro-MB demonstrators in Raba'a Al-'Adawiyya had apprehended hundreds of members of his movement, and flogged them and torn out their fingernails as punishment for their call to express no confidence in Badi'.[14] He filed a complaint on this matter with the Egyptian attorney general against MB deputy chairman Dr. 'Issa Al-Arian and against MB senior official Muhammad Al-Altai.[15]
In early August 2013, the Egyptian media reported that Muhammad Heidi, the son-in-law of MB Deputy General Guide Khairat Al-Shater, had joined the Brotherhood Without Violence movement.[16]Concurrently, young people who left the sit-down strike in Raba'a Al-'Adawiyya decided to establish the MB Youth Alliance, which has also joined the Brotherhood Without Violence group.[17]
Profile photo of 
Brotherhood Without Violence Facebook page. "No Confidence in the General Guide."

The Free Brotherhood Front And The Honorable Brothers Front: The MB Leaders Are Inciting Bloodshed

An additional group that has announced its reservations regarding the policy of the General Guide's office as well as its opposition to the continued demonstrations against Mursi's ouster is the Free Brotherhood Front. This front calls for a reorganization of the movement and for the election of a more "enlightened" movement leadership. Its Facebook page states: "We are a group of young MB members and its younger leadership. Our secession is not from the MB movement, but from [its] leadership, which calls upon us [to do] things that contravene religious directives and patriotic interests."[18]
Front members accused Badi' of culpability for violence and for the recent deaths of dozens of young Egyptians, both MB members and others. They said that Badi' and the pro-MB preacher Safwat Higazi are inciting the mob at Raba'a Al-'Adawiyya square (the center of the pro-Mursi demonstrations), stoking fitna (civil war) and causing bloodshed.[19]
Profile photo of
 Free Brotherhood Front Facebook page, accessed July 21, 2013.
The Al-Arabiya website reported on July 20, 2013 that members of this group and of Brotherhood without Violence had been apprehended by MB leaders at Raba'a Al-'Adawiyya square. The Free Brotherhood Front has demanded that the MB leadership free these members, withdraw from all the squares, cease contact with the world MB movement until the crisis in Egypt is over, and accede to the will of the movement's young members.[20]
In addition, sources close to the MB report that splits in the movement's ranks have also occurred in the Dumyat district, where MB member Muhammad 'Abdallah resigned from the movement and established the Honorable Brothers Front, another group opposing the policy of Badi's office. 'Abdallah too held the MB leaders responsible for the bloodshed in Egypt in recent weeks, saying that it was they who had instigated the violent clashes with Mursi's opponents and the security forces. He added that some MB leaders had harmed the movement by deviating from its principles and objectives, and that this had forced young movement members to intervene in order to rectify the situation.[21]

[1] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 3654, Young Members of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Call for 'Revolution' Within the Movement  , March 9, 2011.
[4] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 11, 2013.
[5] See the movement's Facebook page, July 21, 2013.
[6] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), July 11, 2013.
[7] Brigade 95 is a clandestine armed MB organization that is rumored to have been involved in violence against demonstrators at the beginning of the revolution.
[8] Al-Ahram (Egypt), July 16, 2013.
[9] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), July 11, 2013.
[10], July 28, 2013.
[11] Al-Yawm Al-Sabi' (Egypt), July 20, 2013.
[12], July 28, 2013.
[13] Al-Watan (Egypt), July 23, 2013.
[14] Al-Shurouq (Egypt), July 23, 2013.
[15] Al-Masri Al-Yawm (Egypt), July 24, 2013. 
[16] Al-Yawm Al-Sabi' (Egypt), August 1, 2013.
[17] Sawt Al-Ummah (Egypt), August 4, 2013.
[18], July 21, 2013.
[19] Al-Ahram (Egypt), July 9, 2013.
[20], July 28, 2013.
[21], July 10, 2013.
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