Muslim Brotherhood Stepping Out of the Shadows

(Sydney Morning Herald-Australia) Ruth Pollard - Despite renouncing violence decades ago after its early forays into assassination and bombing campaigns, the Muslim Brotherhood's importance as a ''springboard'' towards more radical Islamic movements for individuals such as al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is well known. Six months ago, the Brotherhood formed the Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt. According to Nathan Brown, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and a senior associate with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on the key question of Israel, there is a perceptible difference between the way the Muslim Brotherhood deals with the Camp David accords and Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel, and the way the Freedom and Justice Party tackles the issue. The party - faced with the enormity of the problems confronting Egypt - would rather talk of anything else but that treaty, Brown says. Yet the movement's chief spokesman, Dr. Mahmoud Ghozlan, says, "We think this treaty is imposed on us by outside our country. And we think it is an unjust treaty. Because it removes our sovereignty in Sinai...we cannot built an airport there, we cannot send our troops inside the Sinai to protect our borders.'' "We think that the Israelis do not respect [the treaty] because they have [undertaken] many attacks against our soldiers, without any justification. We have to review it again, if the people want that, via the parliament." Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and vice-president of the Brookings Institution, wrote this week after a visit to Cairo, the Muslim Brotherhood ''understand they have to make a choice between feeding the people and fighting Israel, and for the time being they have made a conscious choice of bread over bombs." --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2012-01-31 00:00:00

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