Muslim Brotherhood's Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood issued a lengthy statement Tuesday evening in which it condemned violence and claimed the group had adhered to strictly peaceful means of struggle throughout its history – distancing itself from anyone who acted otherwise.
"[The Brotherhood's] activity and struggle against corruption and despotism is based on absolute peacefulness and the rejection of violence in all its forms and putting up with the harm, detentions, killing, torture and oppression [the group] suffers," read the statement, which was written by the Brotherhood's Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein.
The Brotherhood was designated a terrorist organisation by Egyptian authorities last December, despite the group's repeated denial of any links to attacks against Egyptian police and army forces after the ouster of Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi in July.
"Thousands of Egyptians were killed and the Brotherhood stood at the centre of the killings, but none of them raised a weapon against their murderers," the statement said.
Citing media statements by former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, 1990s era interior minister Hassan El-Alfy and other officials who stated that the Brotherhood was not violent, the group argued that it was peaceful, even at times when the government was confronting militant Islamists, which the Brotherhood said it had condemned for their violent attacks.
The Brotherhood has announced "tens of times" that they engage in political life through legitimate means under the auspices of the law and the constitution, the statement said, adding that the group also contributes generously to social causes.
"This is not a matter of politics and manoeuvring," the statement read; "it is a matter of faith." The statement included Quranic verses to support its claims.
The Brotherhood went further by clearly stating that anyone who engages in violence is at odds with the group.
"The Muslim Brotherhood announces – clearly and without hesitation – that it is innocent of any form and source of violence and condemns all forms and sources of terrorism," the group said.
Those who spill innocent blood are "partners in wrongdoing and mired in sin", it said, calling on perpetrators to cease violence immediately.
The group stressed that these peaceful values are part of its doctrine, the ruling principles of its thought and activities and not an individual tendency.
"Whoever distances himself [from these principles] has drawn for himself a path different from the path of the Muslim Brotherhood," the group stated.
Thousands of Brotherhood members and the group's top leadership are currently in jail pending trials. Most charges include inciting or carrying out violence and belonging to a terrorist organisation.
Most of the major terrorist attacks in Egypt since Morsi's ouster have been claimed by the militant group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis (ABM). No links between ABM and the Brotherhood have been proven so far.
Last week, the UK government launched investigations into the Brotherhood's activities after British intelligence announced possible links between the group and a bombing in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula in February.
"The Brotherhood was surprised at the latest remarks, since all successive British governments had always been the most expertly informed about the group's positions and peaceful approach," the Brotherhood responded in a statement on Wednesday.