The Islamic supremacists didn’t initially take a leadership role in the Iranian revolution of 1979, either. “Egypt’s opposition calls for 1 million on streets,” by Maggie Michael and Hamza Hendawi for the Associated Press, January 31:
[…] In Cairo, the coalition of groups, dominated by youth movements but including the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, were discussing the possibility of making prominent reform advocate Mohamed ElBaradei spokesman for the protesters, members said. […]
The Muslim Brotherhood, which wants to form an Islamist state in the Arab world’s largest nation, said it would not take a leadership role in the opposition coalition. Western governments and many secular Egyptians have expressed fears about a significant Brotherhood role in Egyptian politics.
“We don’t want to harm this revolution,” Mohamed Mahdi Akef, a former leader of the group, said.
ElBaradei, a pro-democracy advocate and former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, invigorated anti-Mubarak feeling with his return to Egypt last year, but the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood remains Egypt’s largest opposition movement.
Its support base comes in large part from its elaborate network of social, medical and education services. It made a suprisingly [sic] strong showing in parliamentary elections in 2005, winning 20 percent of the legislature’s seats, but it failed to win a single seat in elections held late last year and are widely throught [sic] to have been rigged in favor of Mubarak’s ruling party.
Mubarak, a former air force commander in office since 1981, is known to have zero tolerance for Islamists in politics, whether they are militants or moderates, and it remains highly unlikely that he would allow his government to engage in any dialogue with the Brotherhood.
Rashad al-Bayoumi, the Brotherhood’s deputy leader, said that, “What we hope to reach in today’s meeting is formulating a united strategy to remove Mubarak … “What we have here is the Egyptian people’s biggest chance to affect regime change.” […]
A leading Muslim Brotherhood official, Saad el-Katatni, told The Associated Press that “we didn’t deputize anybody because we don’t want anybody to be solely in charge,” but if the coalition agrees on naming ElBaradei, “this is fine.” […]