The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

New Brotherhood arrests

The government has launched a fresh crackdown on the Muslim Brothers, arresting 31 of its members in the north western coast.

Here’s a dpa report by my friend Jano Charbel:
31 members of the Moslem Brotherhood arrested for staging a summer camp in Northern Egypt
Cairo (dpa) – Thirty one members of the outlawed Moslem Brotherhood were arrested on Monday morning in the Mediterranean City of Marsa Matrouh, approximately 525 kilometers northwest of Cairo, where the group was holding a summer camp, said Egyptian security sources.
The sources added that these thirty one members of the Brotherhood are residents of Alexandria, located approximately 200 kilometers north of Cairo. They were arrested on charges of belonging to an outlawed organization and for staging an illegal congregation.
The Moslem Brotherhood are banned by law yet tolerated - in certain circumstances. The Islamist organization, founded in 1928, now holds eighty eight seats out of the Egyptian Parliament's 454 seats – rendering it the largest opposition bloc. Secular opposition parties hold only ten seats.
The Brotherhood won these eighty eight seats during the parliamentary elections of October-December 2005, with their members running as independent candidates.

And here's an AP report by Nadia Abou El-Magd:
Egypt arrests 31 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Egyptian authorities detained 31 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood on Monday, police said, bringing to nearly 700 the number of members arrested since a crackdown began in March.
The men were arrested in Marsa Matrouh, a vacation town on the Mediterranean coast 325 miles from Cairo. All were originally from the port city of Alexandria and were on a summer holiday, according to the group's Web site.
They were arrested for holding illegal meetings in three apartments, police officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Founded in 1928 and banned since 1954, the Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's largest Islamic group. Membership is considered illegal, but the group is believed to have tens of thousands of followers.
The group increased its seats in Egypt's parliament sevenfold in last year's legislative elections, despite clashes between security forces and opposition voters that killed some 14 people.
It currently holds 88 seats in parliament _ still well short of a majority.
Police stepped up efforts to crack down on the Brotherhood in March, when members began demonstrating against the extension of Egypt's controversial emergency laws, and in support of two reformist judges who called attention to alleged electoral fraud. Last month, a judiciary panel reprimanded one judge and cleared the other.
The United States has demanded greater democracy in Egypt and expressed unease about the country's human rights record. Earlier this month, Congress voted only narrowly to continue funnelling aid money to Cairo.
Last month, the U.S. State Department publicly criticized Egypt for its harsh crackdown on secular political activists, one of whom accused police of torture and sexual abuse.