Meet Egypt’s Next Prime Minister

In the fall of 2005, a cheerful editorial appeared in The Guardian urging its leftist readers not to fear the Muslim Brotherhood. Identifying himself as the Vice-President of the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat El-Shater wrote, “The success of the Muslim Brotherhood should not frighten anybody: we respect the rights of all religious and political groups.”

A year later, El-Shater had been arrested and charged with terrorism, money-laundering and participating in a banned organization. The arrest of the top Muslim Brotherhood leader was not a simple matter. Egyptian police blockaded his neighborhood and raided his home confiscating computers and mobile phones. It was not the first such arrest for El-Shater. In 1992, Salsabeel, his company, had been raided exposing Brotherhood documents plotting an overthrow of the government.

The Brotherhood had gotten too cocky too fast. Its election victories in Egypt’s parliament had gone to its head and feeling omnipotent its student movement tried to intimidate other students on campus by putting on black paramilitary uniforms and masks with Islamic slogans, similar to those worn by its Hamas adjunct across the border in Gaza, and conducting a show of force.

The government cracked down and El-Shater went back to prison. But these days prison is a long way from his mind as he meets everyone from the Norwegian Foreign Minister to Senator McCain, who tweeted that he had a “thoughtful conversation” with the Brotherhood leader....

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