The controversy surrounding the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahdi Akef, whose term ends in January, certainly is important. However, more important, is another debate that should take place and reach a conclusion. It is the debate over the group’s impact on the future of the country, in both the short and long-term.
I am not raising doubts about the patriotism of the Brotherhood or its intentions, though I have my doubts over its methods and objectives.
The Germans built the Berlin Wall in 1961, separating the country’s east from west. The wall deprived East Germany of democracy and isolated it from the rest of the world for 28 years, until it fell in 1989. Similarly, the Brotherhood, either intentionally or not, has erected a moral wall around it since the revolution in 1952, and even more so since the attempted assassination of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1954. Ever since this time, the different ruling regimes have found justifications for suppressing political life, in the belief that a less restrictive system could allow the Muslim Brotherhood to seize power and establish a religious state.
Whether such a point of view is valid is not my concern. The real problem is that this suppression has taken place from 1952 until the present, and will likely continue so long as the Brotherhood exists in its current form.
The Brotherhood should be aware that the entire country has paid the price of this oppression. If it had not been for the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt would have a much better place in the world.
However, the walls the Brotherhood has constructed can be torn down. If the Brotherhood withdraws from political life and focuses on social work, the reward they will receive will be of an even greater value than seats in parliament or local councils.
The Berlin Wall has fallen and Germany rose to its feet as a strong country in just 20 years, and today it is the third strongest economy in the world. So I ask, when will the wall of the Brotherhood fall, so that we can have a more important place on the world map?
Translated from the Arabic Edition.