The call to prayer quiets in the minaret as Mohammad Abbas, a street protester turned candidate for parliament, steps out of a decrepit elevator and hurries to his office. He's still learning the art of politics but he can spin a sound bite better than most of his elders. Ask away:Continue reading.
"They sit in air-conditioned rooms but don't touch real Egyptians."
"Not yet strong enough to influence change."
The Muslim Brotherhood?
His eyes narrow, the banter hushes.
Abbas joined the Brotherhood, the Arab world's largest Islamic movement, when he was in college. But the group that brought the 27-year-old closer to God and honed his social conscience booted Abbas out in July when he made clear that his ambitions for a new Egypt were much different from those of his mentors.
The Brotherhood's moderate Freedom and Justice Party and its more conservative Islamic allies are likely to win big in parliamentary elections Monday; no other organizations are as disciplined or as connected to the masses. But the Brotherhood's unity, which buttressed it for decades against bans and repression by Hosni Mubarak's police state, is splintering as both young and established voices break away.
With about 6,000 candidates running for 498 seats, the elections are a crucial test for the Arab world's most populous nation. The outcome, along with a presidential election scheduled for next year, will reveal whether Egypt emerges as a democratic inspiration in a region clamoring for change or slips back into a military-dominated autocracy where only the faces and illicit bank accounts have changed.
Added: At Legal Insurrection, "Egyptian Imam The NY Times called “moderate” holds “kill all the Jews” mass rally."