Ed Husain: Egypt can bring in the Brotherhood





[The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of ‘The Islamist’]

Egypt is ablaze. Hundreds of thousands protested in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday, but for fear of an Islamist regime the US now risks being remembered as a democracy that abandons democrats. After generations in opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood now wants to play a part in Egypt’s future, giving a rare chance to strike a deal for their compromises and democratic involvement.

To this day we are paying the price for ignoring ordinary Iranians and siding with the Shah in 1979. Then, secular democrats triggered a revolution only to be brushed aside by fundamentalists. Today, ordinary Egyptians lead demonstrations but the Brotherhood waits in the background; an indispensable force in national life.

With a network running through trade unions, mosques, businesses and universities, the organisation is hugely influential. Opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei has already formed a loose alliance, and for sound reasons. Last September, of the million signatures petitioning for change under Mr ElBaradei’s leadership, the Brotherhood collected 800,000...

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