Before the Arab Spring, people complained about the marriage of convenience between power and wealth. Today, this marriage is halal and even takes on a third partner: Islam.
While most of the outside world saw the Muslim Brotherhood as an activist group oppressed for its anti-regime and Islamist messages, there was a different side to them that was just as obsessed with money and how to amass it. The Muslim Brotherhood’s secret society nature has naturally allowed its leaders to justify immoral or illegal actions for the greater good. And of course, there is no greater good than establishing God’s law on earth. To this end, the Muslim Brotherhood actively recruited businessmen and involved itself with a myriad of economic ventures. These ventures ranged from the import/export business to the seemingly absurd but highly profitable market of so called ‘hyper-markets’. In the latter years of Mubarak’s rule the Muslim Brotherhood were given some room to breathe in these seemingly innocent but highly profitable ventures.
It came as no surprise then to most Egyptians when they saw then president-elect Morsi wave from the balcony of his rented apartment in one of Cairo’s wealthiest neighborhoods, The Fifth Settlement. Ironically, but also telling, was the fact that his competitor, wealthy former Mubarak prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, also lived in the same neighborhood.
As the Muslim Brotherhood is fixated on how to exact it’s political and cultural agenda it is also moving fast to control the facets of the economy, in accordance to Sharia law of course. Egyptian newspaper El-Watan provides us with an info-graphic profiling 18 of the Brotherhood’s business tycoons sent out by Morsi to do the job. Watch out for the Brotherhood’s businessmen.
*Mokhtar is a D.C based researcher focusing on Egyptian politics and Islamist movements. He tweets at @Hipster_Salafi