Monday, March 19, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood Youth and Elders.. Generation Gap or Conflict?

Despite their best efforts to conceal it, there are indications that there is an eminent internal conflict within the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The MB is a strict hierarchy of elders who deliberate decisions at the Guidance Bureau and pass them down to be zealously adhered to by the members of the Brotherhood, as per a strict oath of allegiance of obedience ~ السمع والطاعة  or hear and obey. Not anymore it seems.. The winds of change are finding their way within one of the oldest Egyptian Muslim fraternities in modern Egypt.

Since toppling of Mubarak on 11 February 2011, the MB council has strived to play politics as they emerged as one of the most influential forces in Egypt. While basking in their newfound fame and landslide victory in the parliamentary elections, they are not oblivious to the powerful SCAF and are keen not to ruffle feathers or step on any toes. After Mansour Hassan, ex-Minister of Culture in Sadat's cabinet and Chairman of the Advisory Council created by SCAF, popped up as a potential consensual candidate - to the great dismay of Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq who expected to be bestowed with such honor - most liberal parties scrambled to endorse him. Al Masreyeen Al Ahrar and Wafd parties were among the first to announce their support and there were strong rumors that MB was due to join. But when the Wafd Party was humiliated by its youth who rejected this endorsement and forced the Wafd chairman to retract it, MB was quick to learn the lesson and didn't announce its endorsement.

Some MB youth have vocally announced their staunch support of Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, who was a prominent member of MB Guidance Bureau but was unceremoniously expelled after he announced his decision to run for president, against MB's decree. Since then MB youth have rallied around Aboul Fotouh, considering him the perfect choice for president especially in the absence of MB's own presidential candidate. The youth were troubled when MB Guidance Bureau vehemently and openly denounced Aboul Fotouh and that they wouldn't support him. But this didn't stop the youth.. They continued to work on his campaign, issue letters of attorney. Now a showdown might be in progress and the MB youth might emulate the Wafd's, and are slowly challenging the Guildance Bureau decisions.

And if that's not enough of a headache, the youth are now joined by other "elders" within the MB who announced today that they are endorsing Aboul Fotouh and who further did the unthinkable: they openly criticized the General Guide:

رفضوا الامتثال لقرار الجماعة بعدم إصدار توكيلات لأبو الفتوح..أقطاب الإخوان ببنى سويف لـ "المرشد": "اتق الله .. وعد إلى رشدك"

If the MB play their cards right they'll avoid a showdown with their youth and other important leaders within the fraternity. Not only to avoid internal conflict and undermining of their movement, but also to avoid loss of face. Everyone's watching. Everyone..

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