OPINION NEWS: Muslim Brotherhood; Egypt’s crackdown on the press

I will stand up for the Muslim Brotherhood

…as that same secular, liberal Egyptian Muslim, I believe I must defend the Brotherhood’s presence on Egypt’s political stage. If I don’t, then I am just as guilty as the regime that has for decades sucked the oxygen out of the body politic — and with Gamal Mubarak being groomed to take over the presidency from his aging father, the regime seems set to rule for another generation.

Besides the state, the Brotherhood is the last man standing in Egypt. We’re down to the state and the mosque. The Muslim Brotherhood must remain on Egypt’s political stage, not least so that its ideas are out in the open and can be challenged.

I was in Egypt in 2005 when the Muslim Brotherhood won 88 seats in parliamentary elections, and I remain unconvinced that the majority of Egyptians would vote for them in free and fair elections. Less than 22% of Egyptians turned out to vote in 2005, which to me says most Egyptians want neither the state nor the mosque. They want a real choice. [complete article]

Egypt extends crackdown to press

Ibrahim Eissa, an Egyptian editor and columnist whose newspaper, Al Dustour, has become a byword for the kind of journalism that courts controversy and attacks government limits on free speech, doesn’t look like a man facing a year in prison.

He’s smiling and almost jolly in his downtown Cairo office as he attacks the verdict against him – for the crime of defaming President Hosni Mubarak – and predicts he’ll lose his appeal.

“If you make the decision to be an opposition journalist here, you have to have the demeanor to carry yourself through all sorts of situations,” he says. “But am I hearing that there’s some kind of deal out there to keep me out of jail? No. The regime has given up on me. The regime is panicking and sees anyone that writes the truth about them as dangerous.” [complete article]

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