Decimated Muslim Brotherhood Still Inspires Fear. Its Members Wonder Why.

Source: The New York Times

Photo

Defendants in the 2015 killing of an Egyptian prosecutor flash the Rabaa sign, symbolizing support for the Muslim Brotherhood, while being held in a courtroom in Cairo last month. CreditAmr Abdallah Dalsh/Reuters

ISTANBUL — For Magdy Shalash, an Egyptian exile living here in Turkey, there is a certain irony to a recent diplomatic spat that has divided the Middle East.

Several Arab countries — led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emiratesand Egypt — are enmeshed in a standoff with Qatar and, to a lesser extent, Turkey. One major reason? Qatari and Turkish support for the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement that Mr. Shalash helps lead.

To its enemies, the Brotherhood is a terrorist group that seeks to unravel the established Arab order, and not just in Egypt, where the group was founded in 1928, but in countries like Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, where the group has inspired similar movements.

Yet, members like Mr. Shalash, many of whom are either in jail in Egypt or in exile in countries like Turkey, say the group is not only democratic, but decimated and divided. They say it has little ability to exert control over even its own members, let alone the governments of the Middle East.

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