By Hussein Mahmoud
CAIRO (AA) – Gamal Heshmat, a senior Shura Council member of the Muslim Brotherhood, said that all sides inside the group intend to separate the party’s political aspect from the proselytization and educational side, adding that this development will be made public soon.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency about the current internal crisis in the MB, Heshmat said the dispute is “elitist” in nature.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which was established in 1928, had set up a political party after the January 2011 uprising. The Freedom and Justice Party was later dissolved by a judicial decision following the 2013 military coup against President Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader.
The Brotherhood is currently witnessing an internal dispute involving the organization’s administration. The rift, which reached its peak in December, was between two streams. The first was led by Mahmoud Ezzat, the interim chief of the Brotherhood and the second by Mohamed Montaser, the group’s spokesman, who was recently sacked by Ezzat.
Two weeks ago, the Brotherhood’s High Administrative Committee announced what it called a roadmap to end the dispute. The roadmap mainly called for comprehensive elections on all levels inside the group.
Here is a summary of Anadolu Agency’s interview with Gamal Heshmat:
When did the internal crisis of the Muslim Brotherhood begin in Egypt? And what are the reasons?
First, the public must be aware that the MB that we are talking about it now aims at adopting the democratic consultative way inside its internal work mechanisms, despite its big crisis against the coup that blocked it and killed a number of its leaders as well as imprisoned thousands of its members and supporters. The more important matter is if Egypt succeeds in solving its crisis with the coup, all sides in the country – including the Muslim Brotherhood – will succeed in solving any urgent matters.
Second, this crisis is connected to the administration and vision of a bigger crisis: the coup regime’s failure, which Egypt has lost much from.
How deep is the crisis internally and what are its latest repercussions, especially with many new proposals, including the “roadmap” to solve it?
The depth of the crisis, we can say it is elitist, and it affects the administrative bodies of the MB inside and outside (Egypt) at the same time. In all cases, the crisis will remain a crisis and we will not be able to exaggerate it and say that it is the end of the Brotherhood and we also cannot belittle it.
Here, we must mention that the MB’s main establishment was and still is, in many ways, based on the correlation of values – intellectual, symbiotic and human – inside Egypt and outside. There is no doubt that the MB made mistakes in some of its decisions and steps, but admitting the mistakes is important, and many of the leaders expressed that. I think that the rest of the organizations and figures that made mistakes against the country should also admit their mistakes.
Therefore, the volume of the Brotherhood’s crisis will witness tides, but public opinion should be aware that the steps to solve the crisis are ongoing and are not connected to a single person whatever his rank may be.
Will the internal crisis force one of the group’s sides to accept a deal with the regime in the future?
There is no sane person who would say that a coup that is collapsing economically, politically and socially should be given hope to survive. This is a crime and I do not imagine that any sane person inside the group would make a deal with this coup [regime].
Many initiatives were proposed to solve the internal crisis, including one by you. Can you tell us about the most prominent initiatives and their fate?
The initiatives that were proposed by MB leaders and respectable scholars, including Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, to solve the internal crisis were aimed at uniting the Brotherhood and there are still ongoing efforts to complete the roadmap to succeed in internal cohesion, despite the obstacles and arguments of both sides.
Do you see that the absence of a charismatic leadership inside the Brotherhood like Khairat al-Shater, MB’s deputy supreme leader, caused the current issues?
Despite names and their effects, negative or positive, we clearly, in the history of the group in recent years (before the revolution) and after, have a leadership problem. It is not something to be ashamed of, and amid our current crisis since the coup, the biggest problem is a large administrative gap.
What is the prospect of solving the current internal rift or is it unresolvable?
We cannot say that there is a problem without a solution. Of course, there is a solution and there is a prospect for our current rift, but time is part of the treatment.
Do you think the Muslim Brotherhood is writing its own end as a result of this crisis?
We ask God that this does not happen. [Ensuring that it does not happen] will be possible through work, not mere wishes. We hope, in light of the youth movement, that the MB returns to society, [regains the trust of] the Egyptian public and adds a new spirit to the country, something it truly needs.