Muslim Brotherhood is Now Banned in Egypt, But That Won't Change Much


The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters has spoken: The Muslim Brotherhood is completely banned throughout Egypt. That means they are allowed no assets, no off-brand groups to branch from it, no buildings, and no money.

Following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood had its first, albeit short-lived, taste of freedom in decades. Now, with this court ruling, the Islamist movement is banned from having so much as one of its members lead another unassociated organization, much less "any institution branching out from or belonging to the Brotherhood." This may well include a ban on the Muslim Brotherhood's political party, the Freedom and Justice Party. Given the fragile situation of Egypt and the Arab world, this verdict will likely create more, not less, violence and backlash.

The court ruling can be appealed. However, the outlaw of an organization that spent much of its existence banned from the political forefront yet managed to reign victorious when it officially became a non-governmental organization is perhaps counter-intuitive. The ruling adds fuel to the Muslim Brotherhood's already burning stove. Some speculate this move will encourage young members to rebel against the current military regime.

In fact, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood called the ruling "a totalitarian decision" in an interview with Al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr TV. "You are losers and [the Brotherhood] will remain with God's help."

Following the ruling, the group continued to show its resilience. It tweeted, "The Muslim Brotherhood is part and parcel of Egyptian society. Corrupt and politically motivated judicial decisions cannot change that."

In addition to banning any organization that "co-operates with the Muslim Brotherhood, or is funded by it," the court ruled all of its assets, money, and buildings must be confiscated. Mohammed al-Sayed, the presiding judge, said an independent committee will be formed to manage the confiscated assets until a final court ruling is reached. 

The government crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood raises concern over further attacks on anti-coup protesters and affiliated groups. It is worrying if the absolute outlaw of the Muslim Brotherhood is any indication of future of relations between government and anti-government organizations. Egypt's Interior Ministry did tell Al-Jazeera it will not use the ruling as a precedent to crack down on other protests and groups.