OPED: Quick History: The Muslim Brotherhood was born in Ismailiya
In what the Associated Press described as “an angry Mohammed Morsi”, Egypt’s President “vowed in a televised address on Sunday he would not hesitate to take more action to stem the latest eruption of violence across much of the country.”
Among the actions he took was to impose a state of emergency and curfew in three governorates, including Ismailiya, the very place where his Muslim Brotherhood was born:
… Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the city of Ismailia in March 1928 along with six workers of the Suez Canal Company, as a Pan-Islamic, religious, political, and social movement. The Suez Canal Company helped Banna build the mosque in Ismailia that would serve as the Brotherhood’s headquarters…
… Al-Banna was populist in his message of protecting workers against the tyranny of foreign and monopolist companies. It founded social institutions such as hospitals, pharmacies, schools, etc. Al-Banna held highly conservative views on issues such as women’s rights, opposing equal rights for women…
Ismailiya is supposed to be a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold. Tonight it is under martial law.
In 2011, the Brotherhood’s political party won half the Members of Parliament there with 183,859 votes. Together with the right-wing Salafi Al Nour Party, conservative Islamists took 75% of Ismailiya’s MP seats.
But in last year’s presidential race signs of the Brotherhood losing its hold began to show when the MB’s candidate Mohammed Morsi won Ismailiya, but with only 26% of the votes (92,633) in the first round. He went on to win there in round two, but with only 54%.
Now, there is tonight:
… Emergency measures would come into effect in the provinces of Port Said, Suez and Ismailia “for 30 days starting at midnight,” Morsi said in an address on state television…
… A few hundred people took to the streets of Ismailiya just after Morsi made his announcement and clashed with police, an AFP correspondent said. A medical source said six people were injured…
Following the speech twitter was alive with reports on ongoing defiance to the Muslim Brotherhood’s actions:
@TheBigPharaoh: Epic. After Morsi declared state of emergency in Suez from 9 pm-6 am, ON TV correspondent says protesters planning daily protests from 9-6!
If President Morsi cannot control the very city that gave birth to the Muslim Brotherhood, what does that say about potential stability in the rest of Egypt?
How far will Egyptians go in their fight against oppression? Well, the Brotherhood should know, given their history of violence:
… In 1952, members of the Muslim Brotherhood were accused of taking part in the Cairo Fire that destroyed some “750 buildings” in downtown Cairo — mainly night clubs, theatres, hotels, and restaurants frequented by British and other foreigners…
For the sake of Egypt, let us pray nobody follows in the Brotherhood’s historical footsteps.