Egypt: April 6 Leaders Calls Brotherhood Ban ‘A Mistake’

Co-founder of the April 6 movement and prominent participant of the January 25, 2011, uprising Ahmed Maher spoke to ANSAmed about why he feels banning the Muslim Brotherhood was a mistake and how he sees the current situation in Egypt. ”A battle is underway between the Muslim Brotherhood and the old power bloc, which includes the army. But the military does not know what the revolution is, its demands for rights and freedoms – they think it was only against a presidential power succession to Mubarak’s son, Gamal,” he said.

In Rome to take part in the inter-religious meeting organised by the Sant’Egidio community, Maher is open about how restrictive he feels the new direction Egypt has taken is, after the ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi by the Army following protest by the masses against the Muslim Brotherhood government.

”Last week,” he said, ”we launched the ‘Road of the Revolution Front’ with those involved in the original January 25 uprising. We want to be a third voice,” he said, meaning an alternative to the political polarisation of the past three months. The reference is to the movement launched on September 24 by the activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, the economist Wael Gamal, the writer Ahdaf Soueif, the Revolutionary Socialists, who focus on social justice and rights, and others. ”Morsi made a lot of mistakes,” Maher said, pointing to the breaking of the agreements made with liberal revolutionaries before the 2012 presidential win, ”but since he was ousted there have been human rights violations, the killing of innocent demonstrators, and the arrests of journalists and activists that had nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood.” ”We are back to where we started from just after Mubarak’s fall. We have to start from scratch,” he said, noting that in the meantime ”many have forgotten what the revolution actually was.’ The activist blames the climate created by most state-controlled and independent media outlets, which after the campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood – which are now once again commonly referred to as ”terrorists” – launched one against liberals who criticised the crackdown on pro-Morsi protestors, accusing them of being ”spies”. Attacks continue, he said, against such prominent liberal leaders as Amr Hamzawy and Mohamed ElBaradei, who resigned from his position as vice president after the August 14 deadly clearing of the pro-Morsi squares and returned to Europe. On Sunday ElBaradei once again warned that ‘violence begets violence’, saying the media was involved in a ”fascist” campaign against those standing up for the life and needs of an entire nation. ”We trust ElBaradei,” Maher said, ”but the time has not yet come for him to return.”

Even Maher himself – whose movement is suspected of links with the Muslim Brotherhood due to its criticism of the government – is under investigation in three different cases, he said, charged with spying and receiving foreign funds. ”They even want to dissolve April 6,” he said. The young activist stands firm in his belief that the recent banning of the Muslim Brotherhood – after the arrest of hundreds of its members and leaders – was a mistake. ”Even back in 2011 we defended their right to have their own political party. You can’t just get rid of them along with their ideology,” he said. ” And now jail and repression are giving rise to vendettas and terrorism.” Nevertheless, over the past few months room for internal debate has been made once within the ranks of the monolithic organisation, as some of the young ”criticise their leaders”. This could aid the search for mediation, Maher said, who seems relatively optimistic about the new Constitution currenlty under assessment by a committee of some 50 experts and representatives of several different political and social groups. ”It will be a bit better than the 2012 one,” he said, ”but it will give the Army even more guarantees than it has now.”

Source : ansamed