Saturday, October 24, 2009

Muslim Brotherhood's testing time


"A dispute within the leadership of Egypt's largest Islamist opposition group went public over the weekend, opening a heated national debate about the ability of political groups to tolerate internal dissent and disagreement.

On October 19, Mohamed Habib, the deputy guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, said that he had been asked by Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the group's 81-year-old supreme guide, to take on many of the leadership responsibilities until 2010.

In January, the opposition group is expected to elect a new supreme guide.

Akef's decision is unprecedented in the group's 80-year history and it came after a heated dispute between Akef and members of the Guidance Bureau - the group's highest ruling body.

Last week, Akef, who announced months ago that he will not run for a second term in January, wanted bureau members to approve the appointment of Esam el-Erian, a senior and outspoken member of the group, to the ruling body.

The 55-year-old el-Erian is widely known for his political and media activism on behalf of the group, and is often described by the press as a relatively younger and reformist leader, who wants to take the group into a different direction that is more open towards women, Coptic Christians and other political groups......"

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