An article in popular daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm Saturday claimed a number of revolutionary figures have established an oppositional government in Germany with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The accusations, however, have been widely refuted by many of those named.
The article claimed several prominent leaders and activists are “calling for unity of all the current revolutionary forces in Egypt under the slogan ‘We are the solution’”, as an answer to the crisis between different opposition forces in Egypt.
It stated that as part of the initiative, allegedly announced on Friday, the unified forces have set up an oppositional shadow government in Germany, based on challenging Egypt’s current government and a “return to the constitution of 2012”.
The new “government” is allegedly headed by liberal politician Ayman Nour and lists approximately 40 other names, including famous footballer Mohammed Abu Trika as sports minister, Islamist politician Essam Sultan as interior minister and activist Wael Ghonim.
The article was published on the same day Minister of Interior Mohammed Ibrahim announced that the Brotherhood was attempting to encourage groups to riot on the upcoming anniversary of the 25 January Revolution. Ibrahim claimed these attempts were like a “spreading cancer” to destabilise the nation. On Friday, the Ministry of Religious Endowments issued a similar warning that the group was working in the interests of the “Zionist enemy”.
However, many of the figures named in the Al-Masry Al-Youm article have outright denied the newspaper’s accusations and any affiliation with the Islamist movement.
Speaking to Daily News Egypt, journalist Shahira Amin, named as minister of information, said: “I really want to reject these claims. I have no idea where this story or the names has come from, I only found out about it from the press.”
“First of all, I am against information ministers, one of the demands of the revolution was to do away with this propaganda position,” Amin said. “Secondly, I have absolutely no contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, I am an independent journalist and am not with any regime or political group.”
“This is a very serious charge, to accuse someone of treason so I am really concerned by this. What’s more is that the list is incoherent, many of the people named are in prison,” she told Daily News Egypt. In online comments, Amin added that it was a ploy to “tarnish the image of government critics” and that she intended to file a legal complaint.
The article also described the creation of a shadow ‘National Council for Human Rights’ comprised of prominent activists including imprisoned Alaa Abdel Fattah, Mona Seif, Maieinour Al-Massry, and Wael Abbas.
Daily News Egypt contacted the author of the Al-Masry Al-Youm piece, Bassam Ramadan, who responded that the information used was taken from the Muslim Brotherhood website. However, neither the Arabic or English websites of the banned Islamist movement carry any statements that support Ramadan’s allegations, besides a call for unity and action against the government on the 25 January Revolution anniversary.
A request for comment to the Muslim Brotherhood Press Office based in London on the issue was left unanswered at the time of publication.
Revolutionary activist and lawyer Khaled Ali, named as minister of labour in the article, also took to the internet to comment: “First: I reject the initiative altogether. Secondly, I reject all attempts to put my name in any political initiative without consulting me… Third, I appeal to the media to pursue accuracy in this regard.”
Activist and head of the liberal Al-Dostour Party Hala Shukrallah took to Facebook to comment on the “strange news”. Shukrallah said that if the initiative did come from the Brotherhood then “they are always a century late with their projects, they are far from logical…it is too little too late.”
In December, over a year after the July 2013 regime change, a group designating itself “Egypt’s legitimate parliamentarians” gathered in Turkey under the title of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council.
The Muslim Brotherhood-led figures announced themselves as “those who were elected in free and fair elections, those who true reflect the legitimate voice of the Egyptian people”. However since then there has been little information from the council and it is unclear whether there is deemed to be any relation with the report of an oppositional government in Germany.