Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood looks West

The once illegal and secretive brotherhood is courting the West as power looms in Egypt…


Demonstrators in Tahrir, birthplace of Egypt's revolution © thecoldwhisper

The Muslim Brotherhood has recently given approval to a $3.2bn loan from the IMF, despite deep misgivings about dealing with the organisation.

  • The Brotherhood spent 80 years as an underground organisation, with many of its leaders spending time in jail during Hosni Mubarak’s rule
  • Following major successes in parliamentary elections, the organisation now stands on the brink of power
  • The Muslim Brotherhood’s distrust of the IMF goes back to the 18th Century and foreign involvement in Egypt
  • Despite calls from some in the Brotherhood to ban ‘alcohol and bikinis’, there seems to be a recognition that the highest priority is fixing Egypt’s ailing economy; this includes dealing with the US and Western organisations

Muslim Brotherhood foreign policy adviser, Essam El-Haddad:

Remember, for 60 years we were working underground and now we’ve come out into the light and are staring directly into the sun. We’re all blinking and rubbing our eyes, like the Chilean miners. To adapt to this takes time and we don’t have time.

Senior Western diplomat, on whether the Muslim Brotherhood can be trusted:

They have different faces. They are conservative, they are historically anti-Western, but they are also very strategic and don’t seem interested in rocking the boat at the moment.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal