Wednesday 8 February 2012

Do We Finally Know How Many Members Are In The Muslim Brotherhood

 Scene from a Muslim Brotherhood march in Alexandria

The question of the number of members in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has always been a mystery. Estimates of the size of the group ranged from 500,000 all the way to 2 million. In fact, a trusted friend who worked in the electoral campaign of a now-elected MP said that a Brotherhood member "estimated" to him that the MB was "4 million members."

Then, in an online discussion on the 7th of February, @IkhwanWeb, the official Twitter portal of the Muslim Brotherhood, responded in a discussion that garnered much fame as the "why do you hate us?" discussion (in reference to the tweet that started it all), said:
  " ممتاز، جماعه فيها 400 ألف بني ادم ، لازم يكون فيها من نحبه ومن نرفضه ، وبالتالي لا يمكن محاكمة  الجماعه وجلدها بكلام من هنا وهناك"
This translates to:

"Great. In a group with 400 thousand human beings, there has to be in it people we love and people we refuse, and therefore we cannot put the Group on trial and flagellate it by words from here and there."
Is this the end of the mystery of the size of the Brotherhood?

Remember, the Brotherhood has "levels" of membership. There are many mohebbien (sympathisers) who are not official members, but participate fully in their activities to earn membership into the Brotherhood. Some estimates add the mohibbien, some do not.

In other words, if this number is confirmed, we would still have yet to know who exactly does it contain: full members only, or full members and sympathisers.

In any case, it is about time the Brotherhood became a transparent entity. They both have nowadays a right (as the Mubarak days of official persecution are technically over) and a duty (especially given their current socio-political dominance) to register their activities and membership roster with the public and the authorities. It cannot be evaded for much longer. It should not be evaded for much longer.

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