Brotherhood to propose dialogue with NDP

Yasmine Saleh
5 Min Read

CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood plans to propose a meeting with National Democratic Party (NDP) leaders to initiate communication between both groups, the Brotherhood’s Deputy Leader Mohamed Habib told Daily News Egypt.

According to Habib, Egypt is “currently facing a lot of setbacks in different areas, which negatively affected its role in the region and in the world.

This, Habib explained, calls for communication between Egypt’s different political groups.

However, Habib denied that the meeting is related to the recent government arrest of nine prominent Brotherhood leaders, including Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, chairman of the Arab Doctors’ Union.

Habib explained that many people and the media have approached them and asked why they do not communicate with the NDP, further motivating them to propose a meeting.

But Habib said that he is not optimistic about the NDP’s response to their call. On Friday, the group s leader, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, called for dialogue with the wise men of President Mubarak s party.

The group is ready for dialogue even with those who have been unjust toward it, he said in a weekly message on the group s website. We think that the wise men in the ruling party and government … must have a role in halting this rush toward the brink to which the nation is being dragged.

The vague call did not lay out what the group might be willing to offer the government in talks.

Akef, however, hinted that it could consider not contesting the 2010 parliamentary election, saying the Brotherhood was not interested in competing with anyone for seats or positions.

Ali Eddin Hilal, spokesman for Mubarak s National Democratic Party, said there were no talks with the group to try to dissuade it from running in next year s election.

The government recently broadened its accusations against the Brotherhood to include money laundering, attempts to revive the group s international network and spying for foreign organizations.

In an interview with BBC Arabic television, Magdy Al-Dakak, a member of the NDP’s education committee said that he expects his ruling party to refuse a meeting with the Brotherhood because “it is an illegal group that aims to overthrow the current ruling system.

Amina Al-Nakash, vice chair of the Tagammu party also said in an interview with the BBC that the Tagammu too would refuse to cooperate with the Brotherhood because “it believes in the idea of establishing social order and is against involving religion in politics.

In related news, Brotherhood deputy leader and head of the group’s parliamentary bloc for 2007/2008, Mohamed Saad Al-Katatny, denied news reports claiming that he wants to meet with President Hosni Mubarak.

In its Saturday issue, independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm ran an article claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood are looking to reconcile with the regime.

In an official statement sent to Daily News Egypt, Al-Katatny said that he respects President Mubarak, but was however misquoted in the article.

“I only told the reporter that the Brotherhood is always calling for dialogue and discussions on reform-related issues, he said.

The Brotherhood, which holds a fifth of the seats in the 454-member lower house of parliament, has been banned for more than five decades as an organization, but its members are allowed to run in elections as independents.

The government began a heavy crackdown on the group after its surprise showing in the 2005 election, which made it the largest bloc in parliament after the ruling party, headed by President Mubarak.

The clampdown intensified this year after the group expressed support for two Islamist groups that Egypt s government regards as threats, the Palestinian Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah.

Five senior Brotherhood leaders and a number of its other prominent figures are in jail, either serving sentences or awaiting trial – an unprecedented targeting of the group s leadership. -Additional reporting by AP

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