Supreme guide issues a statement on the government
CAIRO: In a statement to the press, Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammad Mahdi Akef renewed his criticism of Gamal Mubarak, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and the government and called for the release of all detained Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
The police arrested nine Muslim Brotherhood leaders as they met in the Umma (Nation) Study Center for Development and Research in the Manial district in Cairo. The assembly was headed by Muslim Brotherhood leader, former upper house member and center head Mohammad Mursi. During their raid, the police seized some of the center’s documents, publications and computers.
Following the arrests, the Ministry of Interior issued a statement describing the meeting as a secret organizational meeting of Brotherhood cadres; a description that was used by national papers, provoking anger from the banned group.
“What has been published by these papers is not true, said a Brotherhood statement. “Those [arrested] were normally present in the Umma Center for Research and Studies during a scientific forum that was being held at the center.
The Muslim Brotherhood bloc condemned the center arrests, saying that they are “a negative indication that the Egyptian authorities [are intolerable] of freedom of expression.
Also in response, Mahmoud Ezzat, secretary general of the Muslim Brotherhood, criticized the use of force in arresting the center members, saying that large numbers of fully armed police forces broke into the center and arrested everyone on the spot, although the center is legal and licensed according to Egyptian laws.
“Such irresponsible and illegal acts from the Egyptian security authorities leads to anger and oppression among the Egyptian society, says Ezzat. “How can anyone who believes in helping or doing an effort for the country feel safe after such acts?
Ezzat also adds that the center has always published studies and research papers that are significant and of use to the country.
In his initial response to the incident, Akef told the press that the arrests targeting the Brotherhood were “evidence of the regime’s inability to fulfill their promises of reform, adding that the Muslim Brotherhood “is paying the price of achieving a wide-ranging reform [and] of fighting corruption.
Akef then called on all concerned entities, including political forces, thinkers, opposition and human rights groups, to interfere and pressure the government to release all detained Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members, including those detained in pro-democracy protests which, according to Akef, number more than 600.
Akef believed that the people’s pressure could make a difference in such a case, saying that the government could have prosecuted two judges if not for the people’s combined efforts, their protests and their stand against the regime.
“I call on all honorable people: professors, artists, journalists, lawyers, thinkers [and] anyone who values human rights to use all that they have got to help release all the detained.
In his statement, Akef also rejected referring to his group as “banned, a description often used by top government officials, including Prime Minister Ahmad Nazif, who not only called the group banned but also said that Egypt has “a secret organization represented in parliament.
“How can such a huge group be banned? It’s against logic, says Akef. “Fifty percent of the upper house’s activities are initiated and carried out by Muslim Brotherhood members. We have 88 representatives in parliament. [There are also] active Brothers in technical syndicates.
Akef also added that although a party like the NDP has activities everywhere, it has achieved nothing.
In his comments about Gamal Mubarak, Akef said in his statement: “I give him this advice: if he wants to follow in the footsteps of his father, he should first deal with the people and then run for free and fair elections, says Akef, adding that the group refuses any “inheritance of power from father to son and that their stance is firm and unchangeable.
“I welcome Gamal Mubarak, [he is welcome] into my office; but only as a young ambitious Egyptian citizen not as a successor to Egypt’s rule, he adds.