Mohamed Morsi’s victory in the Egypt presidential election was announced on Sunday, pleasing Islamists across the world, but worrying some in the West. Anxieties about Egypt's forging alliances with Iran and attacking Israel are prevalent.
However, what both sides fail to see is the context of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s history. A holistic approach to the implications of Egypt’s first free elections is necessary to form an educated opinion about the Muslim Brotherhood and what decisions Morsi will make in the future.
Here are 14 things you probably did not know about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt:
1. The MB’s conduct in Parliament was anti-revolutionary.
The Brotherhood denied the existence of clashes between protesters and state forces on Mohamed Mahmoud Street, near Tahrir Square, back in November 2011. A member of Parliament displayed a piece of shrapnel he picked up from the site of the clashes, causing a Muslim Brotherhood member to heatedly pinch it from his hand. That incident provoked cheering from the other Muslim Brotherhood members of Parliament.
2. In the early 1980s, Mohamed Morsi helped NASA develop space shuttle engines.
3. The MB’s position toward the ruling military council changed when the military council failed to improve economic and security situations.
In addition, the disqualification of Islamist presidential candidate, Hazem Salah Abu Ismael, and the dismissal of the Constitutional Council weakened relations between the MB and the SCAF. Fearing that they would be blamed for these inadequacies, the Brotherhood returned to Tahrir Square to chant against the SCAF in April, their first appearance since the fall of Mubarak in February of 2011.
4. Before running for president, Morsi was a negotiator that worked closely with the Mubarak regime on issues like security and internal discipline.
5. In 2006, Morsi was imprisoned for protesting against the Mubarak regime and again in 2011 for protesting against military rule.
6. The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Egypt by Islamic scholar, Hassan El-Banna, as a Pan-Islamic, religious, political, and social organization.
7. In 1948, a Muslim Brotherhood member assassinated Egypt’s prime minister, Mahmoud Fahmi an-Nukrashi Pasha. A few months later, the organization’s founder, Hassan Al-Banna, was assassinated for his view that terrorism was not acceptable in the religion of Islam.
8. The MB was banned under former president Gamal Abdel-Nasser in 1954 but tolerated to certain degrees by Anwar El-Sadat and Hosni Mubarak.
9. The MB is the largest political opposition in many Arab states. It has branches in Bahrain, Syria, and Iran.
10. In recent decades, the Brotherhood filled a void where the weakened government was unable in civil society, thus, weakening the government’s credibility.
12. Many people support the MB because for the first time, they are given the opportunity for community and social participation.
13. Under Egypt’s many oppressive regimes, it was discouraged to participate in social or political activism. The well-established Muslim Brotherhood offered many opportunities for involvement.
14. MB members have been establishing a foothold in public and state offices for years. In addition to other government ministries, Muslim Brotherhood members have worked in the offices like education, army, and police.
The MB's establishment in Egypt's society is firm and well-grounded; therefore, it was only natural that Egyptians elected a trusted member of their community despite the MB's questionable actions over the course of the past year.