VoA: Two populous Muslim nations, geographically far apart, did one thing in common, perhaps coincidently, and it was to rein in Islamic groups recently. General Abdel Fatah el-Sisi took on the powerful Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the government of Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Haseena banned the Jamate Islami party and Bangladeshi courts sentenced some members of the groups to death for war crimes.
While the Egyptian and Bangladeshi groups suffered setbacks, Pakistani ideological affiliate, Jamate Islami, and other Islamic groups continue to gain support and influence both from sections of the society and reportedly from state elements. Pakistani Jamate Islami is a key member of the political coalition ruling the country’s northwestern Khyber Pakhutunkhwa province.
The first round of Egypt’s presidential elections is scheduled for May 26 and 27 and only two candidates are in the field – leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahi and former Abdel Fatah el-Sisi, the man who is widely expected to win. General el-Sisi in a recent television interview has made it clear that if he comes to power, “the Brotherhood has no future in Egypt”. For many it will not be surprising if el-Sisi wins but how far he can be successful to get rid of the grassroots Islamist political entity, is a question that remains to be answered. Like the Jamate Islami in Pakistan, the Brotherhood has affiliates around the Muslim world. How will the Pakistani Jamate or similar groups in other Islamic countries react, is another question surrounding el-Sisi’s expected presidency.
Parallels Between Pakistan’s JI and Egypt’s Brotherhood:
The brotherhood gave birth to Al-Qaeda and Jamate Islami supported it throughout its violent history. Pakistan’s Jamate Islami, like the Egypt’s Brotherhood, aspires for both domestic and international Muslim causes. The Jamate Islami maintains close contacts with the Brotherhood and considers it an organization from which it can learn. The leadership of both the parties met at the Brotherhood’s headquarters in June 2012 after Morsi won elections and join hands to promote the image of Islam.