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What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

ICC Note

This article explains the Islamist movement that was started by Egyptians with branches in UK, USA and other countries. The group is responsible for Islamic militant movements around the world.

By Bryony Jones

01/28/2011 Egypt (CNN)-The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt this week urged its followers to protest after Friday prayers — the first time in the latest wave of unrest the group has made such a call.

What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

The Muslim Brotherhood is a religious and political group founded on the belief that Islam is not simply a religion, but a way of life. It advocates a move away from secularism, and a return to the rules of the Quran as a basis for healthy families, communities, and states.

The movement officially rejects the use of violent means to secure its goals. However, offshoots of the group have been linked to attacks in the past, and critics blame the Brotherhood for sparking troubles elsewhere in the Middle East. Many consider it the forerunner of modern militant Islamism.

When was it created?

The Muslim Brotherhood has been part of the political scene in Egypt for more than 80 years. It was formed there by Hassan al-Banna in 1928.

What is its history?

In its early years, the group concentrated on religion, education and social services, but as its membership grew, it moved into the political sphere, organizing protests against the Egyptian government.

In the 1940s, an armed wing of the Brotherhood was blamed for a string of violent acts, including the assassination of Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmud Fahmi al-Nuqrashi in 1948 — shortly after he had ordered the dissolution of the MB.

Al-Banna himself was assassinated soon afterwards — his supporters claimed he had been killed on the wishes of the government.

Why is it important in Egypt?

The Brotherhood is the oldest and largest opposition group in Egypt. However, it is illegal under Egyptian law, which bans all parties based on religion. Because of this, its members contest elections as independents.

Until last year’s polls, the party had 88 seats in the country’s legislature. But following a decision to boycott the election because of voting irregularities, its parliamentary influence was wiped out.

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