Brotherhood official: Group status legal under current law

Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood Mahmoud Hussein said Tuesday that the group's status was legal, adding that it does not need to be regulated under current laws, recent protests to the contrary notwithstanding.

 In an interview with Mehwar satellite channel, Hussein added that the group has existed for 80 years and operated under military and despotic regimes, yet none of its members had been brought to trial “for belonging to an outlawed group.”

If a law that regulates the work of groups that do charity work and exercise politics is passed, then the group will have to legalize its status, he said, adding that the Brotherhood does not exclusively do charity work and thereby cannot come under the authority of the Ministry of Social Solidarity.

Protests in Cairo last week called for the group's dissolution, saying that its existence is illegal under Law 84/2002.

The law is controversial, with rights groups considering it oppressive. Under the law, former President Hosni Mubarak dealt with the Brotherhood as an outlawed group and several members were arrested.

The Brotherhood has been operating been outside the framework of Egyptian law since the group was disbanded in 1954 under former President Nasser. In 2011, Egyptian authorities approved the establishment of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Brotherhood's political arm.

Regarding calls for having the Central Auditing Organization monitor the activities of the Brotherhood, Hussein said, "We only accept members' donations and we do not receive foreign funds. We spend from our own pockets," adding that organizations monitored by CAO are the ones that receive funds from overseas and non-members.

Hussein described the Brotherhood as the “moderate group that the people want," adding that the group calls for “a civil state and rejects the establishment of a military or religious state.”

Hussein dismissed as unwarranted fears that the Brotherhood would hegemonize the state, saying none of the group’s members has so far been appointed as a chief editor or governor.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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