The Muslim Brotherhood (Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimoon) was the first modern Islamic terrorist organization. Founded in 1928, it is the the direct forefather of both Hamas and Al-Qaeda. In its Egyptian homeland it has had a checkered history — and is at present banned. Through it all, its goal has always remained the same: to reestablish Sharia rule in Egypt and elsewhere, whether by peaceful or violent means. And now, despite the best efforts of the Mubarak regime (which, like the Nasser and Sadat regimes before it, has tried to keep the Ikhwan at bay with a combination of force and concessions) to limit its influence, it is gaining strength in Egypt — through elections.
Tiny Minority of Extremists Update: “Islamists Build Egyptian Parliamentary Bloc,” from Reuters, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
CAIRO (Reuters) – The Muslim Brotherhood built its strength in Egypt’s parliament this weekend, winning 29 seats in elections despite restrictions on voting and arrests of its supporters, official results showed on Sunday.
The Islamist group has now won 76 seats — more than five times the number it held in the outgoing chamber. About a third of parliament’s 444 elected places have still to be decided.
The officially banned Brotherhood is contesting only a third of the seats, not posing a challenge to control over parliament by the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), which won 75 places in voting on Saturday, bringing its total to about 195.
But the Brotherhood’s wins have shown the weight of political Islam as the strongest opposition force in Egypt and caught the government and NDP off guard.
The authorities have curbed leeway given to the Islamists in the early stages of voting. Police restricted voting and detained 860 of the Brotherhood’s activists on Saturday — the fourth of six days of legislative elections.
Riot police cordoned off polling stations in Brotherhood strongholds, either preventing anybody from voting or allowing only a trickle of people to cast ballots.
“The aim was to prevent voters from reaching the ballot boxes and to affect the result,” Brotherhood deputy leader Mohamed Habib told Reuters. “But with perseverance the people and the Brotherhood were able to overcome the barriers.”