This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Report #2 in a New Series: “The Muslim Brotherhood” “Central Leadership and Organization” May 2011
Report #2 in a New NEFA Series: “The Muslim Brotherhood” “Central Leadership and Organization” By NEFA Director of Analysis and Research Ronald Sandee May 2011 In this second paper in a series on the Muslim Brotherhood, the NEFA Foundation will examine the central leadership of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Essential for topdown control is the Executive Bureau, led by the General Guide, and the Shura Council, also led by the General Guide. The daily business of the organization is controlled by the Secretary-General, who is also a member of the Executive Bureau and of the Shura Council. In following reports, other parts of the organizational structure will be highlighted. General The Muslim Brotherhood is a strong structural organization with a clear hierarchy. It was able to survive armed conflict with the Egyptian government in the 1940s and1950s. In1952, the Brothers supported the coup, but within two years were banned after a failed attack on coup leader and president Gamal Abd al-Nasr. A time of repression and oppression began and much of the Brotherhood’s open infrastructure went underground and abroad, but the organization survived and was able to sustain itself. These days, the Muslim Brotherhood is still alive and in many ways in better stead than in the past sixty years. Although the organization has been prohibited from assembling since 1954, in reality, the MB was always tolerated to a certain extent. It has been reported that the Muslim Brotherhood currently has at least 600,000 dues paying members. The Muslim Brotherhood was able to build its influence within the well educated, professional middle class and controls the professional syndicates of, for instance, engineers, doctors, dentists, and lawyers. 1 Mohamed Abbas, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Youth, active during the demonstrations on Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, said in a documentary: “we have the ability, and a good ability, to organize. We are the best in Egypt to organize.” It is time to take a closer look at the organizational structure of the Muslim Brotherhood. In an interview with the Middle East Report in 1953, Said Ramadan, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and son-in-law of founder Hasan al-Banna, said about the
Charles Sennott on PBS News Hour, February 23, 2011; http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/video/blog/2011/02/pbs_frontline_examines_egypts.html
nefafoundation. within the MB. the religious college of Egypt. Consequently. Middle East Report. October 2.J. Vol VI-3. This is in line with the Brotherhood’s belief that men should worship God through their own professions – not merely in the Mosque. member of the Shura Council for five years. although continuing to portray an air of charisma remained important. Ramadan stated that the MB has 2. one needs to be “a Interview with Said Ramadan. it is interesting to note that of these twelve only one is a graduate of Azhar University. The History of Modern Egypt. one day. 5 The Qanun al-nizam al-asasi li-hay’at al-ikhwan al-Muslimin al-‘Amma was written and amended under Hassan al-Banna and the second General Guide Hasn al-Hudaybi released and amended General Internal Regulations al-La’iha al-dakhiliyya al-‘Amma.000. as well as of the Shura Council. Ramadan also says “In every Egyptian organization of MB: “There is a central office composed of twelve members of the college there is a group of outstanding students elected by their fellows called The Federation of Students. It believed in salvation by the purification of individual and social life under the strict leadership of the Supreme Guide. Hasan al-Banna was the first General Guide of the organization and is described by P. the charismatic aspects of leadership became somewhat less important and the primary function of General Guide became more that of a stable technocrat. Muslim Brotherhood Leader Explains Its Aims and Activities.org . the General Guide leads both the executive branch and the legislative branch. Vatikiotis as “the Supreme Guide who. predominately because every General Guide who followed al-Banna.” 4 After the death of al-Banna. ‘possessing In The General Law of the Organization of the Muslim Brothers and the General Internal Regulation of the MB. would lead his followers in a purified Muslim state.org Muslim Brotherhood. 2 www. and review past activities. all knew al-Banna personally and were aware of how successfully his charismatic leadership approach worked related to the membership.000.” 3 General Guide (al-Murshid al-‘Amm) The most important position within the Muslim Brotherhood is the General Guide.329. sometimes called the Supreme Guide or the Chairman. Vatikiotis. His Mahdist approach appealed to a rapidly increasing membership. This body meets every tow or three months to chalk out matters of policy and procedure. at least thirty lunar years of age. A survey taken last year indicates that 85% of the students in the Federations are members of the Muslim Brotherhood. From Muhammad Ali to Mubarak (London 1991) P.nefafoundation. the qualifications for the General Guide position are described. J.” 2 The current size of the Shura Council is 100 members. In the same interview. 5 To qualify for the top leadership post within the MB.org – info@nefafoundation. until the current General Guide. 1953. The General Guide is the head of the Executive Bureau. There is also a ‘founding body’ which is composed of 150 members elected each year. 3 Idem 4 P. This central office holds weekly meetings. The rest are graduates of Cairo and Farouk Universities. Though the organization is basically a religious one.NEFA Foundation – ©2011 http://www.000 branches in Egypt with an estimated membership of around 2.
165 9 Ibidem 10 Young members of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood Call for ‘Revolution’ Within the Movement. 6 The General Guide is to be elected by at least four-fifth of the members of the Shura Council with at least 75% of the members in attendance. but also with a group that is generally viewed as ‘rural’ leaders.nefafoundation. under all circumstances. Mitchell p. ‘either The bayat is written down in the General Law of the Organization and reads “I personally or in his capacity as Guide’. and as such. to live up to the conditions of its membership. Of what I say.” He further pledged to pursue the interests of the organization according to the Koran and the Sunna and that he would seek advice from others Muslim Brothers in leadership positions. In January 2010. gained respect because he voluntarily left his leadership role instead of occupying the position until such time as his death in office. I swear by Allah on that and make my oath of loyalty to Him. One of their first demands is the abolishment of the Office of the General Guide. according to the youth. which also includes the dismantling of the Executive Bureau.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/5080. in an economic or financial venture. Badie.NEFA Foundation – ©2011 http://www.htm 7 6 www. the group of young members of the Muslim Brotherhood who participated in the Egyptian uprising has demanded changes in the structure of the organization. The Society of the Muslim Brothers (Oxford 1993) p.org the attributes of learning. Allah is my Witness. March 9. known to be a technocrat. 2011. and practicality”. They prefer it be replaced by a temporary committee to be headed by Mahdi Akef. Akef. He is the first General Guide who did not know founder Hasan al-Banna personally. to strive on its behalf. Subsequent to being elected. In response. MEMRI. especially avoiding participation. is associated with the Qutbi wing within the Brotherhood leadership.org . 165. Mahdi Akef. the General Guide was required to devote all his time to the organization. he handed over the leadership of the organization to Mohammed Badi. to have complete confidence in its leadership and to obey absolutely. Mitchell. 3654. http://www. Special Dispatch No. however in 2009.memri. 165 8 Mitchell p. He has surrounded himself not only with loyal friends. the members of the Shura Council would take a personal bayat (oath of loyalty) to the new guide.nefafoundation. the new General Guide would take an oath pledging to be “a faithful guardian over the principles of the Muslim Brotherhood and their General Law. Mohamed Badie became the 8th General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. morality. 7 contract with Allah…to adhere firmly to the message of the Muslim Brothers.org – info@nefafoundation. meaning these leaders did not come from the urban centers Richard P.” 8 According to the bylaws and the regulations. 9 It was typical for The General Guide to stay in office until he died. 10 The Current General Guide Mohamed Badie On January 20. In recent days. 2010. even one connected with the’ Brotherhood. observers expect the job of General Guide to lose part of its personal tone and become more technocratic. the 7th Guide broke with this unwritten law and said he would not pursue a second term.
the number was increased to fifteen. The General Guidance Bureau was. p. is filled by someone whom the General Guide chooses to help him.” “When I choose a deputy. if the deputy finds that he needs an assistant. al-Ahram Weekly. according to alHudaybi “…this is not a democratic issue because I choose him on my own. The Executive Bureau handles the administrative duties and executes its policy. The extra members were to be appointed by the Executive Bureau itself.org .htm 12 Al-Sharq al-Awsat.” 12 General Guidance Bureau/Executive Bureau (Maktab al-Irshad al-‘Amm) The General Guidance Bureau. who serves as the chairman. p. July 4. runs the Muslim Brotherhood organization on a day-to-day basis. 13 Today. The General Guide has the authority to choose the deputy/deputies. in the early years. he will appoint a deputy. and I will not be able to impose him upon the group to become a General Guide after me. The Executive Bureau chooses amongst itself the two deputies of the General Guide and his spokesmen and it also establishes the responsibilities of each member. Of the twelve members. then General Guide Ma’mun al-Hudaybi had the following to say about the position of the Deputy General Guide: “The post of the Deputy General Guide. This means that the General guide is the one who specifies to the deputy what he does.nefafoundation.nefafoundation.” this has nothing to do with the democratic system of the group.org like Cairo and Alexandria. a group of twenty persons including the General Guide. MB goes rural. http://weekly. The Executive Bureau has grown with one additional seat as there are now sixteen members and the General Guide.” Al-Hudaybi further states: “…the duties of the deputy include two matters: First: He adopts extremely necessary measures during the period in which the General Guide’s post is vacant. Sometime after 1951. the Executive Bureau is made up of seventeen members.org.org – info@nefafoundation. I will choose someone to help me. nine came from Cairo and three from the provinces. the number of members was reduced to twelve by al-Banna. and he has no other authority. Second: He adopts the measures to choose the new General Guide. ultimately giving the Brotherhood leadership a conservative twist. or Executive Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood. 8. Serving as the 17th member is the recently released Hossam Tammam.ahram. In the late 1940s. 23-29 October 2008.NEFA Foundation – ©2011 http://www. as specified in the statutes of the group. 13 Mitchell. Therefore.eg/2008/919/op13.166 11 www. 11 Deputy General Guide In an interview with the Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat in 2003. 2003. He does not necessarily become the new General Guide. including the General Guide.
14 There are criteria before one can be chosen to become a member of the Executive Bureau.” 20 Ikhwanweb. Al-Ahram Weekly.com/article. warned. http://weekly. 166-167 17 Mitchell p. a Muslim Brotherhood parliamentarian kissed the hand of the supreme guide in public. by secret ballot. “our blessed one”. 15 When a person is chosen to become a member of the Executive Bureau. the post will be filled by the person who got the next largest number of votes in the election. as well as being learned and practical.ahram. concluded that the Brotherhood became more rural. If a post is vacated.htm 20 Idem 14 www.org – info@nefafoundation. January 27.ahram. Tammam went on to say: “You hear them referring to their top officials as the “uncle hajj”. http://weekly.nefafoundation. Occasionally. a member was deprived of the right to criticize or oppose’ once the decision took a ‘legal form’.php?id=22833&ref=search.” 16 If a member of the Executive Bureau were to violate the rules. be a member of the Shura Council for at least three years. 166 16 Mitchell. a majority decision was binding on each member. who retained his position as Deputy General Guide while in prison. MB goes rural. They are voted on by the members of the Shura Council. it was noted that the Muslim Brotherhood appears to have become more rurally based in the last years. they even kiss the hands and heads of the top leaders. 18 In a 2008 commentary in the Egyptian government controlled newspaper al-Ahram. Not long ago.htm 15 Mitchell. and possess particular personal qualities such as high moral standards. “For a misdemeanor he might be advised.org . 2010. 17 An expulsion from the Bureau can only be issued by a majority of 75 percent of those present and the accused member has the right to defend himself in front of the meeting. Gamal Essam El-Din. 14-20 January 2010.” 19 In dismay. he would be responsible to his fellow members of the Bureau.org. Conservative stranglehold.org deputy General Guide. “the big hajj”. suspended for one month. Breaking news: chairman appoints deputies and press spokesmen. No. or expelled from the…” Executive Bureau. “the crown on our heads”. 919. etc. the new members of the Executive Bureau are sworn in with an oath to uphold the principles and the general laws of the Muslim Brotherhood. 981.ikhwanweb.nefafoundation. http://www. 167 18 Idem 19 Hossam Tammam. “the blessed man of our circle”.eg/2008/919/op13. No. Mitchell notes on decision making: “In the operation of the Council. Six out of fifteen Executive Bureau representatives originated from rural-areas.NEFA Foundation – ©2011 http://www.php. 23-29 October 2008. fined. Khayrat al-Shater. This means that the organization has become more and more patriarchal and that “its members are showing their superiors the kind of deference associated with countryside traditions. After the ballots are counted and the names are made known.eg/2010/981/eg4. he holds his office for two years and is then re-electable.org. Al-Ahram Weekly. p. an Egyptian expert. Candidates need to be at least thirty lunar years of age. Hossam Tammam. pp.
was appointed to this position. Gomaa Amin Abd alAziz.php?id=22710.nefafoundation. one day after Mohamed Badi became the new General Guide. 2010. 22 The Secretary-General is a member of the Executive Bureau and serves as head of the General Headquarters of the organization in Cairo. 2010. January 23. Middle East Report. al-Masry al-Youm. http://www. it was reported on the official Muslim Brotherhood website that he was assigned to the position by the General Guide. and Khairat al-Shater. 168. Gamal Essam El-Din. Conservative 22 21 www.ikhwanweb. 24 Shura Council/ Consultative Assembly (Majlis al-Shura al-‘Amm) The membership of the Shura Council has varied between seventy-five and one hundred and fifty members.org . the Secretary-General is to be elected by the Shura Council from among the members of the Executive Bureau. Mohamed Ali Bishr. Mahmoud Hussein. January 21. p.com/article. Vol VI-3. http://www. 25 The task Mitchell p. but currently seems to be numbered at ninety. Rashad al-Bayoumi. Dr Mahmoud Hussein appointed Secretary General for the MB in Egypt. January 21. Mahmoud Ghozlan. if the procedures have changed. 1953. Secretary General According to the by-laws of the Muslim Brotherhood. 2010. 167 24 Ikhwanweb.com/article. 21 When the current Secretary-General. The other members include: Osama Nasr al-Din.ikhwanweb. Also a member of the Executive Bureau is the Secretary-General of the Organization. however.org – info@nefafoundation. Mahmoud al-Mursi and Saad al-Katatni.NEFA Foundation – ©2011 http://www.php?id=22776 25 Mitchell.php?id=22710 23 Mitchell p.nefafoundation. He is responsible for all legal matters and administrative operations as well as all official duties not assigned to other members of the Executive Bureau.org The Current Executive Bureau The current Executive Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood consists of General Guide Mohamed Badie. 23 The Current Secretary General Dr Mahmoud Hussein was appointed as the new Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood on January 21. 167 Ikhwanweb. the Deputy General Guides Mahmoud Ezzat. it is not known. 2010. and Spokesmen Essam al-Erian. Saad al-Husseini. Hussein took over the function from Mahmoud Ezzat who after 15 years as Secretary-General became Deputy General Guide. October 2. Muslim Brotherhood Leader Explains Its Aims and Activities.ikhwanweb. Abdul Rahman al-Barr. Interview with Said Ramadan.com/article. Mahmoud Hussein. http://www. Mohi Hamid. Dr Mahmoud Hussein appointed Secretary General for the MB in Egypt. Akef: MB strategy the same despite leadership change. He directs and supervises the administrative apparatus and also holds the position as the Secretary for the Executive Bureau. and Mustafa alGhoneimy. Mahmoud Abu Zeid. The task of the Secretary-General is to be the main representative of the Executive Bureau and the General Headquarters for the organization.
nefafoundation. the auditor’s report of last year.ikhwanweb. Ikhwanweb. the Shura Council. Also the Shura Council elects the General Guide and the Auditor. 981. each year. 2010.com/article.NEFA Foundation – ©2011 http://www. This is the single most important plenary session as it discusses the General Guide’s report on activity for the coming year. at least twenty-five lunar years of age. endowment with ‘morality. and practicality”.com/article. Internal elections replace 15% of Muslim Brotherhood’s Shura Council. http://www. Al-Ahram Weekly. no more than ten new members were to be admitted and only when there are open seats due to expiration of terms or other reasons that result in an opening.php?id=22817&ref=search. 168. Muslim Brotherhood may change bylaws. 09Cairo2298. al-Masry al-Youm. http://www. 14-20 January 2010. p. 27 Further.251.” 30 The annual meeting of the Shura Council is to be held during the first month of each Hijra year. http://weekly.html 26 Mitchell.com/article.org. The Shura Council can also meet in an extraordinary session at the request of a minimum of twenty members or at the request of the General Guide. culture. 31 Conclusions The current structure of the Muslim Brotherhood points to the fact that the organizational leadership hierarchy is organized like a shadow government in as much as it possesses a Parliament.php?id=25527 30 Tarek Salah and Mounir Adib.ikhwanweb. at least five years of association with the Society. No. January 26. and elections of members for empty seats in the Shura Council.org of the Shura Council is to be the general consultative council of the Brotherhood and to have the general supervision over the organization. The Secretary General also stated that one hundred and sixty-five of the current members in the Shura Council will be replaced due to the outcome of regional elections.eg/2010/981/eg4. 2009. 168 www. Internal elections replace 15% of Muslim Brotherhood’s Shura Council. http://www.org . Embassy Cairo Cable.145. 27 Idem 28 Ibidem 29 Ikhwanweb. 2010. Egypt: MB Internal clashes continue. July 3. 28 From information released by the Secretary General of the Brotherhood in mid-2010.nefafoundation. 29 The other members of the Shura Council are the members of the Executive Bureau. The members of the Shura Council represent the different districts and are described as being regional representatives.ikhwanweb. U.ahram.php?id=25527. July 3. 2010. the proposed budget for next year.org – info@nefafoundation. an Executive Bureau which resembles a stranglehold.php 31 Mitchell. http://213. In a separate MB report it was mentioned that the Shura Council “has the exclusive right to address changed to the group’s bylaws. December 15. p. 26 The qualifications for membership in the Shura Council are “active membership in the Society.96/cable/2009/12/09CAIRO2298. we learned that currently the Shura Council of the MB consists of seventy-five elected representatives from the MB’s constituencies who are chosen by their different councils in each province.S.htm.
NEFA Foundation – ©2011 http://www. Could it be time for an overhaul of the Muslim Brotherhood infrastructure. a change that will create a Muslim Brotherhood more in line with the objectives of the younger generation? www.org Cabinet. With the recent uprising in Egypt.org – firstname.lastname@example.org . the General Guide analogous to the Prime Minister. and the Secretary General as its coordinating leading civil servant.nefafoundation.nefafoundation. a more open attitude within the Muslim Brotherhood is needed especially as it relates to the general dissatisfaction felt by the younger generation of Muslim Brothers who are unhappy with the current structure and who propose to abolish the position of the General Guide and the Executive Bureau to make the organization more transparent.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.