A special women’s unit within the banned radical group Muslim Brotherhood is operating in Egypt and possibly other Arab nations, according to a counterterrorism report obtained by the Terrorism Committee of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.
The report states that the deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahmoud Ezzat, was arrested with other members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated group and that investigators uncovered evidence of a group of women who serve as “mules” to deliver messages and act as messengers for the terrorist group.
According to Middle East reports, the secret “sisterhood’ is being likened to a group of female terror group members that operated in the 1960s, especially in operations targeting Israel.
Sayyid Qutb, an early Brotherhood leader, taught that Muslim society had turned its back on Islam and had to return to its roots. He advocated violent revolution in order to overthrow secular governments and restore Islamic rule. He was captured, tried and executed by the Egyptian government in 1966.
While the group itself is outlawed on Egypt, security experts say that individual members of the ultra-secret Muslim Brotherhood may be among the candidates running for government office in the national elections later this year.
The women’s secret unit was created much in the same way that the Muslim Brotherhood was founded, according to U.S. intelligence sources.
While the radical Muslim Brotherhood is banned in Egypt, it is praised by many Egyptians and government officials wink at its continuing activism. In the 2005 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood’s candidates, who can only stand as independents, won 88 seats (20% of the total) to form the largest opposition bloc, despite many violations of the electoral process, including the arrest of hundreds of Brotherhood members. Meanwhile, the legally approved opposition parties won only 14 seats. This revived the debate within the Egyptian political elite about whether the Brotherhood should remain banned.
The history of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt following its founding in 1928 has been one of huge growth followed by successive government crackdowns.
Both royal and nationalist Egyptian governments suppressed the Brotherhood in 1948, 1954, 1965 after plots, or alleged plots, of assassination and overthrow were uncovered. Periodic suppressions have continued even after the Brotherhood officially renounced violence in the 1970s.
Today it is illegal but tolerated as Egypt’s most popular and powerful non-governmental organization, according to GlobalSecurity.org.
‘Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he’s a columnist for The Examiner (examiner.com) and New Media Alliance (thenma.org). Write to him at mailto:COPmagazine@aol.com’