Now, I'm not sure how I feel about these guys. They were made illegal a long time ago in their home country. They had questionable beginnings.They are now trying for a political presence. I'm unsure of them. However, I'm hearing they are composed of intelligent, educated men, who say they are not looking to run a candidate (we shall see). What I do think, is that for now, we need not to have a knee jerk reaction to them, to not fear them, to have a rational dialog with them, to allow them like all other groups with concerns, to have a forum wherein to speak.
From NPR's Fresh Air February 8, 2011
Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Mohammed Mursi takes questions from local and international journalists at the end of a news conference Feb. 9 in Cairo.
On today's Fresh Air, Wright talks about the history of the brotherhood, why al-Qaida considers the group an enemy, and what the future may hold for the organization. He says that the brotherhood's decision not to field a presidential candidate in Egypt is remarkable and, in some ways, unsurprising.
"They have an opportunity to put forward their own candidate but they recognize that the West is terrified of seeing Egypt turn into an Islamist state. And they also recognize that the Mubarak administration has used the Muslim Brotherhood as a kind of scapegoat," he says. "I think, very wisely, they declared they are not going to run a candidate, which [destroys] that whole argument that after Mubarak comes the deluge. That decision alone could be the turning point in what happens in these next several days."
Courtesy of The New Yorker
And if the Muslim Brotherhood plays a part in a new Egyptian government, Wright says, it will finally find its proper place and size within Egyptian civil society.
"We don't really know what size of a constituency they have," he says. "Other organized opposition parties [have] been so crippled by the Mubarak administration — and haven't been allowed to function and organize — so they simply haven't had a chance to get their roots out among the people. If the Mubarak regime comes down, which seems likely, there needs to be a period of time where people actually have the time to organize new parties with new candidates. One of the real problems in Egypt is [that there just] aren't very many democrats. They haven't had that experience and they're going to have to have it in an extremely compressed period of time."
NPR Fresh Air interview with Lawrence Wright on the Muslim Brotherhood