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Advisory body asks Egyptian government to dissolve Muslim Brotherhood

Published: Updated:

Egypt’s State Commissioners Authority, which advises the government on legal matters, has called for the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

The legal body also recommended the closure of the Islamist movement’s headquarters in Cairo.

The non-binding recommendation was based on a 2002 law that prohibits organizations and groups from forming armed militias, Al Ahram Online reported.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the most organized political group in the country, has been accused of violence to impede a military-backed political roadmap unveiled after the ouster of former President Mohammad Mursi on July 3.

Most of the groups top-ranking leaders have been detained by the new authorities in Cairo. The heavy crackdown on the Brotherhood is seen as an attempt by the interim government to ease the tensity of street protests.

Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi said last week the Muslim Brotherhood should not be banned or excluded from the political process. Beblawi’s statement was seen as a sign of the government’s desire to reach a political settlement with the group.

The government would instead monitor the group and its political wing and that the actions of its members would determine its fate, Beblawi said.

“Dissolving the party or the group is not the solution and it is wrong to make decisions in turbulent situations,” the state news agency MENA quoted Beblawi as saying.

“It is better for us to monitor parties and groups in the framework of political action without dissolving them or having them act in secret,” he said.

Founded in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood was dissolved by Egypt’s military rulers in 1954. Though still outlawed during the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, the group ran a charitable network and its members ran as independents in limited elections, according to Reuters.

After decades of operating in the shadows and winning support with its charities and preaching, the Brotherhood registered itself as a non-governmental organization in March in response to a court case brought by opponents of the group who were contesting its legality.

It also has a legally registered political arm, the Freedom and Justice party, set up in 2011 after the uprising that swept Mubarak from power. The Brotherhood won all five national votes held since 2011, including Mursi’s election as president last year.

But Mursi alienated a huge swathe of the political spectrum during his year in power, and was removed by the army on July 3 after mass protests.

More than 1,000 people, including about 100 police and soldiers, have since been killed in the worst bout of violence in Egypt’s modern history. Most died when the security forces dispersed two pro-Mursi protest camps on August 14. State media has described the crackdown as a war on “terrorism.”

(With Reuters)