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Muslim Brotherhood becomes an NGO

The move is seen as a deterrent to possible attacks on the Brotherhood headquarters on Friday

The Muslim Brotherhood legalised its status by announcing an NGO under the same name.  (Photo by: Mohamed Omar)
The Muslim Brotherhood announced that it legalised its status by establishing an NGO under the same name.
(Photo by: Mohamed Omar)

Hours after the State Commissioner’s Authority issued a recommendation to dissolve the Muslim Brotherhood on Wednesday, the Brotherhood announced it legalised its status.

Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsood stated that the Brotherhood has established a non-governmental organisation under the same name numbered 644 for the year 2013.

“The decision to turn the Brotherhood into an NGO came to prevent those waiting to get back at the Brotherhood from making their move,” said Mokhtar Al-Ashry, legal advisor of the Freedom and Justice Party; the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing.

Al-Ashry stated that the Brotherhood now resembles any other non-governmental organisation, legally speaking. According to Egypt’s civil society law, the budgets of all non-governmental organisations are to be reviewed and observed by the state.

“The organisation is a central one,” said Al-Ashry. “It will sponsor cultural, Da’wah and human rights activities nationwide.”

Al-Ashry denied that the organisation would participate in any illegal activities. According to the law, partisan activities and syndicate activities are both prohibited for non-governmental organisations, Al-Ashry said.

He stated that in light of announcing the Muslim Brotherhood as a non-governmental organisation, dissolving it has become impossible.

Lawyer Shehata Mohamed Shehata said that legalising the Brotherhood’s status is “non-sense”. “There’s no way that the Brotherhood created by Hassan Al-Banna in 1928 can become legal again,” Shehata said.

He said that law number 84 for civil society gives non-governmental organisations only one year after their establishment to legalise their status. “The Brotherhood has undoubtedly exhausted this deadline,” Shehata said. He added that the only way for the Brotherhood to become legal is for its non-governmental organisation to be a new, separate entity; not a continuation of the 85-year-old entity.

“I believe the Brotherhood announced the organisation in fear of Friday’s protests,” said Shehata. Protests this Friday are headed towards the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Moqattam to denounce the attack on journalists and political activists which took place last Saturday outside the headquarters. “Some protesters threatened to break into the headquarters within the context of the Brotherhood being illegal and thus its headquarters are not legally protected.”

In 1979, the Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide then Omar Al-Telmesani challenged the court ruling of dissolving the Brotherhood in 1954. The court ruled on the case in 1992, turning down the challenge and ratifying the 1954 ruling, said Shehata.

“The 1956 constitution stated that any decisions issued by the Revolution’s steering committee are irreversible,” said Shehata, explaining the reason for turning down the challenge. “Dissolving the Brotherhood was one of those decisions.”

The Brotherhood appealed the court’s decision in 1992. The case was resurrected with Wednesday’s recommendation by the State Commissioners’ Authority.

Shehata filed another lawsuit requesting that the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities be banned based on its dissolution in 1954. The final verdict on the case is expected to come out on Tuesday.

“The State Commissioners’ Authority’s recommendation reinforces our position,” Shehata said.

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