Egyptian extremists in Army uniform?; Muslim group penetrates deep into Egyptian society: analysis
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For most of this century, the best-known Islamic militant movement in Egypt has been the Muslim Brotherhood. It assassinated one Egyptian prime minister in 1948, tried to kill another a year later, and made an attempt to gun down the late Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1954.Skip to next paragraph
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Shukry Mustafa was involved with the Brotherhood before founding Takfir Wal Hijra. He served a prison term in the late 1960s for being a member of it. In jail, he became disillusioned with the "softness" of the older Brotherhood members. So on his release from imprisonment in 1971 he set about building up a separate movement -- Takfir Wal Hijra -- tougher, more dedicated, and more willing to face martyrdom for the cause.
Takfir Wal Hijra's first dramatic act of violence was the kidnapping in July 1977 of an establishment Muslim cleric, Hussein Dhahaby, a former minister of religious endowments and religious affairs. Takfir Wal Hijra threatened to kill Dr. Dhahaby if the government did not release from detention Takfir Wal Hijra members held in jail without trial. When the government refused, Dr. Dhahaby was murdered.
There followed arrests and shoot-outs in various parts of the country. Among the Takfir Wal Hijra leaders picked up and tried was Shukry Mustafa. He and four of his top associates were sentenced and executed.
Professor Ibrahim described the ultimate objective of Takfir Wal Hijra as "to topple Egypt's present social order and to establish an Islamic social order." He said Takfir Wal Hijra members, nevertheless, had no plan for a coup d'etat when they kidnapped and killed Dr. Dhahaby in 1977. They argued that their armed confrontations with authority then were a tactical move forced on them by the government's illegal detention of Takfir Wal Hijra members without trial.
So far, President Sadat's assassination would seem to be a parallel act of violence without a blueprint for a simultaneous coup attempt.
What then was Takfir Wal Hijra's grievances against Mr. Sadat?
To quote Professor Ibrahim, Takfir Wal Hijra militants see the present political system in Egypt as "corrupt and inept." To them, Mr. Sadat contributed to this by making humiliating concessions to the three main external enemies of Islam: atheistic communism (until he expelled the Russians in 1972); the Christian West (alias the United States); and Jewish Zionism (alias Israel). He and his associates at the top in Egypt have not "set an Islamic example in behavior and life style;" and they have "adopted and enforced man-made Western imported legal codes."
Professor Ibrahim implies that the young people who end up in Takfir Wal Hijra or other militant Islamic groups might have taken another direction if they had not been thwated and frustrated in their aspirations by worsening economic prospects and by an establishment blocking upward mobility for "the youngest and brightest" from the middle-and lower-middle class.
Takfir Wal Hijra recruits do, indeed, tend to be students or recent university graduates from middle-or lower-middleclass families. a large proportion of them a rural or small-town background and are recent arrivals in big cities (Cairo, Alexander, or Asyut) where they have come to enroll in universities. The median age of Takfir Wal Hijra members