The brother of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna has openly rejected the group's political aspirations, stating that Egypt should be run by a secular government with respect for human rights, Reuters reports. Gamal al-Banna argues that his brother espoused Islam as "a way of life," ignoring the strongly political tone of Hassan's texts, but claims the current MB leadership has gone too far in its conservatism.
While the popular uprising succeeded in bringing down long time dictator Hosni Mubarak and empowering the MB in elections, Gamal says the group hasn't provided a clear way to solve Egypt's deeply-rooted economic and social problems. "Many people who voted for the Brotherhood said: 'We tried Socialism, we tried Nasserism, we tried pan-Arabism, so why not try the Brotherhood?'" he said.
"There are genuine fears because the heads of the Brotherhood now and the Salafis who got into parliament, none of them - neither their organizations nor their ideas - reflect that they are people who live in this day and age and understand how a nation can progress," he added.
He also claims that successive generations of the Muslim Brotherhood have made the organization more conservative, introducing Saudi style women's dress and conservatism to Egypt. But ultimately, Gamal states, an inability to solve real problems may condemn the organization to the dustbin of history. "Any nation founded on religion must fail. This has been true in the Islamic and Christian experience," he said.
"In the long run, someone like ElBaradei will succeed in Egypt," he said, speaking about the former head of the International Atomic Energy Commission, who is now campaigning for president. However, Gamal did not address how Islamist political power, which exceeded 70 percent of votes cast, may permanently frame religion as a part of the Egyptian political system and constitution.