The Muslim Brotherhood is now facing its “final struggle,” the Egyptian interior ministry said on Saturday, citing the arrest of thousands of people in 2014 on charges related to terrorism and political violence.
Police arrested 10,000 alleged saboteurs, rioters, and terrorists in 2014, assistant interior minister Abdel-Fattah Osman was quoted as saying on Saturday by state-run news agency MENA. The police also arrested 119 Facebook page admins responsible for inciting against state institutions and security personnel, and four people charged with recording “hostile videos," he said.
"The terrorist Brotherhood has terrorised people on the one hand and promoted an environment of discontent on the other, whether by blowing up electricity pylons or by obstructing transportation," Osman stated, adding that security forces have managed to thwart all such "satanic plans."
Following the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, his Muslim Brotherhood group was designated a terrorist organisation and banned. Morsi and other leaders were arrested and are facing a number of charges including espionage and inciting violence. Many members of the group have also been detained.
The interior ministry foiled 400 possible terrorist attacks in 2014, arrested 6,400 rioters, and 2,600 people who attacked police stations, Osman said. Four hundred and sixty terrorist cell members, 350 people charged with sabotaging railways, and 50 wanted terrorists were also apprehended.
However, an Egyptian expert in Islamist groups, Kamal Habib, told Ahram Online that the ministry’s statement about a “final struggle” with the Brotherhood is overly optimistic.
"The group is still present. They still protest in the streets…it is true that the security onslaught has weakened them, and they have also arrested their leaders, but the group still has a presence," he said.
Habib said that it would be hard to get rid of the organisation, which has existed since 1928, adding that he believes that attention should be focused on what form the group will take in the future.
The Brotherhood may look to separate its political activities and its preaching of Islam, or may adoption an inclusive message rather than a confrontational one, suggested Habib.