Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood now enjoys a “legitimate” status after being legally registered as an NGO earlier this week, Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud, a lawyer for the Islamist group, said on Wednesday in televised comments.
Abdel-Maksoud made the assertion shortly after Egypt’s State Commissioners Board recommended that the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) reject the Brotherhood’s longstanding appeal against a 1954 decision by Egypt’s then-ruling Revolutionary Command Council declaring the group illegal and ordering its dissolution.
Abdel-Maksoud also stressed that the Brotherhood – in its new incarnation as a registered NGO – was “not related” to the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), widely seen as the group’s political arm.
Since Egypt’s 25 January 2011 uprising, a number of political figures have called for the Brotherhood – the group from which President Mohamed Morsi hails – to formalise its legal status to allow the state to oversee its funding and political activities.
The SAC is currently considering a lawsuit against the Brotherhood that calls for the group’s dissolution based on the argument that the organisation lacks official legal status. A verdict in the case is expected on 26 March.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1928, was formally outlawed amid a wide-ranging crackdown on group members during the era of president Gamal Abdel-Nasser, following an assassination attempt on the latter for which the Brotherhood was blamed.
The group established the FJP in the immediate wake of Egypt’s 2011 uprising. The nascent party went on to secure a majority in the now-dissolved lower house of Egypt’s parliament.