Egypt Considering Banning the Muslim Brotherhood
The Egyptian government announced on Saturday that it had begun deliberations on whether to ban the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the latest violence in the country, reported the Associated Press.
The Brotherhood was outlawed for years until the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, after which it swept to power in the country's first democratic elections.
Such a ban, which authorities say is rooted in the group's use of violence, would be a repeat to the decades-long power struggle between the state and the Brotherhood.
Signaling the Brotherhood's precarious political position, Cabinet spokesman Sherif Shawki said on Saturday the government was considering ordering that the group be disbanded.
The spokesman said, according to AP, that interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi had assigned the Ministry of Social Solidarity to study the legal possibilities of dissolving the group. He didn't elaborate.
Meanwhile, the state MENA news agency reported that Egyptian prosecutors have placed 250 Muslim Brotherhood supporters under investigation for murder, attempted murder and terrorism.
Police arrested more than 1,000 Brotherhood supporters in the wake of clashes on Friday that pitted followers of deposed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi against the security forces.
At least 173 people were killed over the weekend in Egypt in heavy fighting.
Security forces broke into the Al-Fatah mosque in central Cairo, where hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters had holed up. The forceful entry had been preceded by heavy exchanges of gunfire.
According to one report, one of the people killed Saturday was Amar Badie, 38, who is the son of Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie.
Badie is one of nine Muslim Brotherhood officials in Egypt against whom arrest warrants were recently issued. He is charged with incitement to violence.
Badie, the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the past called for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule.