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New Egypt uprising 'inevitable,' say Muslim Brothers

  • "No injustice can last forever," Talaat Fahmy, the Islamic movement's official spokesman, told AFP in Istanbul.
21 Jan 2021

ISTANBUL: Hounded by Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after briefly rising to power following the Arab Spring uprising, the Muslim Brotherhood sees a new revolution sweeping aside the current regime.

"No injustice can last forever," Talaat Fahmy, the Islamic movement's official spokesman, told AFP in Istanbul.

"People's patience and ability to tolerate what is happening is not eternal. A street uprising is inevitable, although I cannot predict a precise date."

Killed, imprisoned and chased into exile by Sisi, the Muslim Brotherhood enjoyed a fleeting hold on power after people power in Egypt toppled the late president Hosni Mubarak.

Their candidate Mohamed Morsi became Egypt's first democratically elected president in 2012.

But Morsi was overthrown by the army when Sisi was at its helm, and the movement's members have ever since been the victims of relentless repression -- which they vow to surmount.

"The Muslim Brotherhood movement is 93 years old and it has seen similar travails under (former Egyptian president) Gamal Abdel Nasser from 1954 until the release of its leaders from prison in 1974," said Fahmy.

"The group did not disappear. It did not cut off contacts with those members over all those years. The Muslim Brotherhood knows how to communicate with its members, adapting to the security and political circumstances."

Jailed eight times during the three-decade rule of Mubarak, Fahmy left Egypt and settled in Istanbul in 2015 after spending two years in prison under Sisi.

He considers Sisi's rule even more damaging to his country than that of Mubarak, who died in February 2020, and accuses Sisi of overseeing a "bloodthirsty regime that rules with an iron fist".

"The situation in Egypt today is worse than it was under Mubarak, who tried to maintain a certain balance, while the current regime does not care," Fahmy said.

"No change in Egypt is possible through elections under the current regime."

Fahmy thinks Western powers that once gave Sisi the benefit of the doubt because he presented himself as an ally in the fight against radical Islam "are beginning to realise that he is leading the country to the brink of an implosion".

"Egypt under Sisi's rule has no future. You just have to see how the army is taking over national companies and imprisoning businessmen. .... The army now controls between 70 and 80 percent of the economy and the country's businesses."

Fahmy also expressed little fear at the repercussions of this month's reconciliations between Qatar -- where some of the group's members have fled to -- and its regional rivals in the Gulf and Egypt, which have branded the Muslim Brotherhood a "terrorist organisation".

The movement "is not dependent on this or that government, and all the financial aid it receives comes from the group's own members," he said.

"We do not receive any support from Qatar or Turkey," said Fahmy, stressing that the only help the group gets from Ankara is the authorisation to be present in the country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling party is rooted in political Islam, regularly refers to Sisi as a "coup leader" and accuses Egyptian authorities of "killing" Morsi, who died in 2019 after collapsing in court during his trial.

"We never embarrass the country we are present in and do nothing to violate its law and traditions," Fahmy said.