CAIRO: Ahmed Fathi Sorour, Speaker of the People’s Assembly (PA) made an unusual comment that it was time for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to establish a legitimate political party.
Sorour’s statement came during a meeting held this week with the defense and national security and the foreign affairs committees to discuss the parliamentary delegation’s recent visit to the United States.
He indicated that the Brotherhood should have been officially represented in the delegation since they constitute the majority of the independent members in the PA.
But Abdel Moniem Abdel Maqsoud, MB lawyer, told Daily News Egypt that Sorour’s statement “is nothing but a typical government statement meant to improve Egypt’s image to the West and give the impression that it accepts all ideologies. But it has nothing to do with the reality of the government’s intentions and stance towards the group.
“How can the government expect us to believe that they want us to establish a political party while recent constitutional changes specifically targeted the group? Abdel Maqsoud said.
Constitutional amendments made in March 2007 stipulated that no political activity based on religious ideologies will be allowed.
According to Abdel Maqsoud, in 1996 the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Mahdi Akef, and 14 other members made an official request to establish a civil political party but were turned down by the committee for political party affairs.
“Not only was their request denied, they were also sentenced to three years in jail charged with manipulating the law to establish a religious political party, Abdel Maqsoud added.
Abdel Maqsoud believes that Sorour is fully aware that there is no way the government will allow the establishment of a Muslim Brotherhood party, adding that the recent crackdown on the group prior to the local council elections is proof that the state wants to eradicate the group, not recognize it.
He added that the group pledged it would not make any more attempts at establishing a political party as long as this committee, which they regard as unconstitutional, is in charge.
Sorour is not the first government official to make a statement of this kind.
Last month, Information Minister Anas Al-Fiqi said on El-Beit Beitak talk show that the Brotherhood are not allowed to be interviewed on national terrestrial television channels because they are considered a “banned group and advised them to “settle their situation with the government and establish a legal political party.