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Brotherhood marks January 25 uprising anniversary with development drive

Islamist group calls initiative 'gift to Egyptian people' on occasion of revolution's 2nd anniversary; Critics question campaign's timing

Sarah El-Rashidi, Tuesday 22 Jan 2013
Views: 2077
Muslim Brotherhood to celebrate revolution anniversary
Supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi rally in front of Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 (Photo: AP)

Only three days away from the second anniversary of Egypt's January 25 Revolution, the Muslim Brotherhood has launched a campaign dubbed 'Building Egypt Together.' At a press conference in central Cairo on Tuesday, the group's secretary-general, Mahmoud Hussein, provided details of the initiative.

"Three central projects will be implemented nationwide, in addition to several projects on the provincial level," Hussein said.

Conference attendees included other high-profile Muslim Brotherhood members, such as Deputy Supreme Guide Mahmoud Ezzat and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Secretary for Giza Amr Darrag. A number of prominent businessmen also attended – including Safwan Sabet of the Juhayna dairy company and Samir El-Naggar of the Daltex agricultural firm – along with doctors, students and civil society representatives.   

The conference began with a Quranic recitation and was followed by a brief introduction by FJP spokeswoman Dina Zakaria.

The campaign, which is set to continue until 5 February, incorporates a variety of projects. One key initiative will be to provide free health services to one million Egyptians, renovate 2,000 governmental schools and alleviate hardship by providing subsidised produce. Another initiative, highlighted by Ezzat, will aim to provide one million apartments to low-income citizens.

"Eight-hundred NGOs will work nationwide to achieve these goals, 20 of which will be located in Cairo," said Ezzat.

FJP Secretary-General Hussein Ibrahim invited all interested parties, NGOs and civil society representatives to gather at the party's Cairo headquarters on 5 February to begin planning the campaign's next phase.

Some critics, however, questioned the timing of the initiative.

"This initiative is useless since it only spans one month. Charity should not be undertaken simply for electoral purposes," said Zeinab Afifi, head of the National Orphans Federation. "This isn't like providing food bags to the poor during Ramadan [the Islamic fasting month]. A campaign like this needs at least one year to have any impact."  

But officials from the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated FJP stress that the new campaign is not related to Egypt's upcoming parliamentary polls.

"The campaign is not linked to the elections. The Muslim Brotherhood has been undertaking similar initiatives for the last eight years and the Egyptian people know this," Mohamed Sudan, the group's foreign relations secretary, stressed. He went on to describe the initiative as a "gift to the Egyptian people" in honour of the Tahrir Square uprising's second anniversary.

At one point the conference was interrupted by a boy scouts troupe that performed a well-known Egyptian patriotic song. Patriotism was a major theme of the event, with the Brotherhood eager to demonstrate its willingness to unite with all interested parties regardless of organisational allegiances.

"I'm not from the Brotherhood or FJP, I'm an Egyptian. I love my country and want to help build it," said Loay Abdel-Wahid, president of Abour City's board of trustees, who attended the event.

Zakaria wrapped up the conference by inviting interested parties to attend an initial brainstorming session next Tuesday at 12:30pm at FJP headquarters.

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Carole T.
23-01-2013 02:08pm
Projects only 4 the poor
First the announcements are so politically motivated in light of Morsy's waning popularity figures, disasters one after the other and a growing opposition it makes sense that these projects would target Morsy's biggest constituancy base. Next where are the projects to improve the work product of the various ministries i.e. Transportation, Interior and the ones overseeing construction and waste management. The only areas getting any attention are those involving trade and business development.
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23-01-2013 10:44am
regular work
shouldn' this be the regular work of government? to set up projects to bring egypt ahead? educating people, establishing business, setting up a working and affordable health system and so on?
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23-01-2013 05:23am
Proper Way to Celebrate
We need to form an army of volunteers, who are willing to build a new Egypt. We had enough of selfish ‘activists’ who are ready to sell us out, for their political ambitions.
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Freedom Fighter, Aladdin
23-01-2013 03:27am
Hog Wash
this kind of national projects require economic and technical plans to by technoligists and technocrates. It seems MO to lie to people. Who in control of the real estate propoerty left by investors? It is the beggining of irreversable down fall. Goodbye tourism and welocme to starvation and unemployments.
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Shams Edeen, Alex
22-01-2013 11:37pm
Dead on Arrival
tell the truth to people and how many factories closes and how many workers are without jobs. WIshful thinking Brother. It takes more science to make it happens rather than bombastic words of nonsense.
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