Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Split in the Muslim Brotherhood?

From Al Masry al-Youm:

A group of young Muslim Brotherhood members announced the formation of their own political party on Tuesday, separate from the Brotherhood’s recently created Freedom and Justice Party, in a defiant act that is expected to deepen the generational rift within the 83-year-old organization.

The party “stresses the main Egyptian current that the great majority of Egyptians belong to. The party is distinguished by its civil and democratic nature. It takes pride in its idenity. It is open to the other. Morals, values and religious principles play a role in regulating its perfomance,” read a statement posted by one of the founders on Facebook.

Unlike most other Islamist parties, the manifesto of Hizb Al-Tayyar Al-Masry (meaning Egyptian Current Party) does not mention Islamic sharia as its frame of reference; it only refers to the Arab Islamic civilization. “We cannot refer to the Islamic sharia because this is not an Islamist party, and it is not a party for the Muslim Brotherhood youth,” said Mohamed Shams, a 24-year-old co-founder of the party. “Not all founders belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The statement also envisions a larger role for young people. “We want the party to express the spirit of the revolution, which means we want most of its leaders to be young,” said Mohamed Affan, a 30-year-old brother and a co-founder of the party.

Affan is one of many young Muslim Brothers who have become outspoken recently in their criticism of the group’s leadership. They have, on several occasions, expressed disenchantment with their generation’s marginalization inside the Brotherhood’s highest power structures.

They have also expressed vehement opposition to the group’s official party, arguing that it failed to ensure a full separation between the Muslim Brotherhood’s proselytizing and political activities.
It is not clear that this new party has any real political power, but it does highlight rifts within the MB.

The entire article is worth reading.