Muslim Brotherhood should not be banned in Egypt: official

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CAIRO: The leading opposition Muslim Brotherhood should have its place in politics and should not be listed as an outlawed group, an executive of the ruling National Democratic Party said this week.

Mustafa Al-Feqi, chairman of parliament s foreign affairs committee, made the comments during a committee meeting attended by a delegation of US Congressmen.

Nobody can deny that the Brothers are a political organization, he said.

And I do not agree with those who describe the Brothers as a banned organization, although I do not share their political views and I oppose mixing religion with politics, he said.

He gave them 100 percent support to express their political opinions and let them have complete political freedom, like the others.

The Brothers are welcome to participate in political life on a constitutional and legal basis and not on a religious basis, he added.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which describes itself as a moderate organisation that wants to bring Islamic law to Egypt, has been outlawed since 1954.

The group, which made a political breakthrough in 2005, has more than a fifth of the seats in Egypt s parliament, but its representatives sit as independents because of its illegal status.

It is subject to frequent government crackdowns, with the movement claiming 550 of its members have been arrested in the past few months.

On Sunday the military trial resumed of 40 members of the Brotherhood on charges of money-laundering and financing a banned organization. If convicted in a military court the defendants could face the death penalty.

The accused were referred to the military court by presidential decree after a number of them were cleared on the same charges by a civilian criminal court.

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