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Viewing cable 09CAIRO283, MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD'S PARTY PLATFORM INDEFINITELY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09CAIRO283 2009-02-17 14:02 2011-02-16 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo
VZCZCXRO4330
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #0283 0481437
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 171437Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1651
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 000283 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA, NSC FOR PASCUAL 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/2019 
TAGS: PREL KISL KDEM EG
SUBJECT: MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD'S PARTY PLATFORM INDEFINITELY 
ON HOLD 
 
REF: A. 2007 CAIRO 3118 B. 2007 CAIRO 2683 C. 2007 CAIRO 2148 D. 2007 CAIRO 2147 Classified By: Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs Catherine Hill-Herndon, for reason 1.4 (d).
1.(U) In comments published in the February 13 edition of "Al Masry Al Yom," Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leader Mehdi Akef stated that the MB has "indefinitely postponed" finalizing its draft party platform "until injustice and tyranny end in Egypt." Akef commented, "When we have democracy and freedom, when we have respect for the law, when the term 'banned' that the regime uses to describe the (MB) group is canceled, when respect is the basis of dealing with each other and when the Constitution is the general principle of the state, then we will think about declaring the party platform." He continued, "The (MB) group as whole is stronger than the party that you are talking about. And we cooperate with all parties and call on them to always unite in the face of the tyranny and despotism of the regime that wants to monopolize power."

2.(C) Long criticized for its ambiguous stands on key issues such as religious freedom and women's rights, the process of developing a political charter was an attempt by the MB to present detailed policy prescriptions, rather than just amorphous slogans such as "Islam is the Solution." The MB's draft platform was "released" in September 2007 to a range of non-MB intellectuals and academics for comment, and was heavily criticized for (1) the recommended creation of an elected "Senior Religious Scholars Group", which both the parliament and the president would have to consult before passing legislation, and which would have the right to veto laws that do not conform with shari'a (Islamic law), and (2) the stipulation specifically barring women and Copts from becoming president (reftels). Following the public outcry from leading activists, as well as unusual public criticism from within the MB itself, MB Deputy Supreme Guide Mohamed Habib announced he would chair an internal MB committee that would review the platform, consider making changes, and produce a final version (ref A). Akef's February 13 comments indicate that review process has now ground to a halt.

3.(C) According to our contacts, the MB's inability to produce a consolidated final platform indicates continuing deep tensions between the moderate and conservative wings of the Islamist organization. By putting the platform on hold, the MB's leadership is likely trying to calm the philosophical internecine battling over the substance of the charter, and avoid a damaging potential public split between the two factions. In addition, in the face of the government's continuing campaign of harassment and detentions of MB members, the MB's leadership may have decided that announcing a platform - sure to be viewed as a provocative move by the GOE - would only worsen things for the MB, and has thus opted to wait to unveil the platform at a more optimal time. A divied organization operating in an uncertain and hotile political environment, the MB's political evlution appears for the moment to be stalled. SCBEY