Group member to shoot movie on founder Hassan Al-Banna
BENHA: A member of the Muslim Brotherhood who plans to make a movie about the Islamist movement s founder says he wants the film to tell the life story of his hero rather than spread propaganda for the group. Muhsin Radi says too little is known about Hasan Al-Banna, the founder of a movement which would become Egypt s strongest opposition group and inspire Islamists across the Arab world. I hope that there will not be fears about this production. We do not want, as some people think, to spread the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, Radi said. Rather, we want people to be acquainted with the character of Hasan Al-Banna.
Calling for an Islamic state, Al-Banna s group frequently clashed with Egyptian governments after he founded it in 1928 in the Suez Canal town of Ismailia. Al-Banna was himself assassinated by government agents in 1949. Gamal Abdel Nasser, leader of a coup which overthrew the monarchy in 1952, banned the movement in 1954. The state still launches periodic crackdowns on the Brotherhood, jailing its members on the grounds they belong to an outlawed group. But it is by far still Egypt s strongest opposition group, drawing its support partly from the religious conservatism which pervades Egyptian society and on which Al-Banna built his movement. The movie Hasan Al-Banna – An Unfinished Journey is to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth. Radi said the film was a personal project to be financed by him, Al-Banna s family and film companies. Despite the group s turbulent relationship with the state, Radi said the authorities had not tried to impede the project. The movie, which he plans to start shooting next year, had even got an initial nod of approval from state censors. There is no political fight between the Egyptian regime, or the Arab regimes, and the figure of Hasan Al-Banna, said Radi, who is one of the Brotherhood s bloc of lawmakers in parliament. The Brotherhood supports the use of constitutional channels rather than violence to achieve its goals, setting it at odds with groups such as al Qaeda which advocate confrontation with incumbent rulers to seize power. I feel that I am indebted to Hasan Al-Banna for the moderate ideology which I took from him, said Radi, who like many Brotherhood activists got involved with the organization while he was a student. Al-Banna s group is seen as the first modern political Islamist movement, raising the slogan The Koran is our Constitution . The Brotherhood s ideology has spilled over Egypt s borders into Arab countries including Jordan, Syria and Libya. The Palestinian ruling group Hamas describes itself as a branch of the Brotherhood. Radi is searching for a lead actor who resembles Al-Banna, whose portrait hangs in the homes of many Brotherhood members. Hasan Al-Banna was an exceptional person, he said. He s a figure who has been forgotten by the Egyptian people and the Islamic world.