Muslim Brotherhood founder’s brother questions the movement’s ideas
Gamal al-Banna’s vision for Egypt would have set him at odds with his elder brother Hassan, the teacher who founded the Muslim Brotherhood as an Islamist movement in 1928 and was assassinated in 1949. Gamal, Hassan’s last surviving sibling, argues that Egypt today would be best served by a secular leader, and believes that the current mix of politics and religion will eventually fail.
Sitting in his Cairo office surrounded by shelves bulging with books from floor to ceiling, the 91-year-old Islamic scholar said Hassan would hardly recognise the Brotherhood as it is now, poised to enter government.
“There is a very big difference between the Muslim Brotherhood of the 1940s, the time of Hassan al-Banna, and now,” he told Reuters in an interview. “(Hassan) had aspirations but they were not political …(He espoused) Islam as a way of life.”
Banned under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Brotherhood today holds more than 43 percent of the seats in the Egyptian parliament, having won more than any other party in the country’s most democratic election in six decades.
The Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party is calling for a new coalition government that it would lead, bringing it closer to a position of executive power that would have been unthinkable under Mubarak’s rule.