Exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood plans return after 30 years

Riad al-Shaqfa, the movement’s exiled leader, said that followers have been asked to start opening party offices in rebel-held areas.

Exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood plans return after 30 years

World Bulletin/News Desk

The Muslim Brotherhood is set to open offices inside Syria for the first time since the organisation was crushed there decades ago, according to a Financial Times report.

Riad al-Shaqfa, the movement’s exiled leader, said in an interview with the Financial Times that a decision was recently taken to revive organisational structures inside Syria and followers have been asked to start opening party offices in rebel-held areas.

The opening of the offices follows the launch of a twice-monthly newspaper that the group says is now distributing 10,000 copies in liberated areas of the country.

He said that the brotherhood was hoping to promote a more moderate brand of Islamist thinking at a time of growing radicalisation. Shaqfa denounced widespread accusations that his organisation, which has existed only in exile since a bloody 1980s crackdown by Mr Assad’s father Hafez, has been trying to control the fractious Syrian opposition.

 “Those who attack us have no influence on the ground – they are media personalities and are trying through their attacks to create influence for themselves,” he said.

Mr Shaqfa said the Brotherhood has only 10 per cent of the seats on the Syrian National Council, which is now part of the Coalition, and had followed others, rather than led, in the election of Ghassan Hitto as interim prime minister.

The Brotherhood is more organised than others, and it is also flexible in its positions, which creates suspicion over its motives. “If we haven’t pushed to form the Syrian National Council it would not have been formed, because there were no other parties. Others were not organised,” said Mr Shaqfa.

On February 2, 1982, 25 thousand people were killed when the administration of Hafez al-Assad suppressed an uprising launched by the Muslim Brotherhood in Hama. 

Last Mod: 27 Nisan 2013, 12:07
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