The movement was formed in the late 1920s on the wave of mounting anti-colonial struggle in Arab countries and the search for ways to integrate traditional spiritual values in the context of changing political and social realities. The beginning of the Brotherhood is associated with its first leader, Hassan al-Banna
, who laid the ideological groundwork of the group and set its main goal – the creation of an Islamic state in Egypt. The Brotherhood, unlike many other jihadists, does not consider the West to be a territory of war, and jihad, as they interpret it, does not necessarily imply violence. Contributing to the birth of this political movement were prominent members of the most important theological centre, Al-Azhar, who represented differing law schools in Islam. The movement was open to all social strata and numbered half a million members by the end of the 1940s. (Razhbadinov M.Z. The Egyptian Movement of the Muslim Brotherhood / Moscow, 2003, p. 321
Shortly before the assassination of Hassan al-Banna in 1949, a serious crisis occurred in relations between the establishment and the Muslim Brotherhood. The "Free Officers" who led the country after the fall of the monarchy hastened to get rid of an influential political and ideological rival: in 1954, the organization was officially banned on charges of conspiring to overthrow the government. From that moment on, the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood acquired a semi-legal character and seldom spilled out into the open. And when they did, the regime went out of its way to keep the Brotherhood out of the political process.
The situation changed dramatically after the fall of Hosni Mubarak's regime. The first parliamentary elections after the revolution were won by the Islamists
, which were represented by the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Freedom and Justice Party, with Salafist party Al-Nur as the runners-up. Shortly afterwards, Mohamed Morsi
, a candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected president. However, a year later, the Army regained control over the situation by toppling the head of state and launching reprisals against his supporters. In September 2013, the Egyptian court banned
the movement, keeping its leaders under arrest. The trial of the Brotherhood continues to this day; in June 2015 the former Islamist President Morsi was sentenced to death
on charges of an attempting to escape from jail. In the year following the coup, about 36,500 people were arrested.
The actions of the military administration triggered a wave of violence in the country: between July 2013 and May 2015, more than 1,200 attacks
on law enforcement officials were committed. In June 2015, Egypt's prosecutor general died at the hands of the Islamists. Considering destabilization of the situation on Sinai and the loss of control over the Libya–Egypt border, which has led to fighters and weapons moving freely into the country, we can expect the situation to deteriorate further.
The defeat of the representatives of political Islam in Egypt will probably kindle radical sentiments and support for Islamic State
in the Muslim world. The arrest of Mohamed Morsi dealt a blow at the positions of moderate Islamists who preach non-violence and incremental change of the system from within through elections. Disenchantment with democratic institutions and reprisals on the part of the new authorities and the army are forcing people to look for alternatives, including violence. Thus, for example, in response to the actions of the security forces who decimated a village near the city of Sheikh Zuweid on the Sinai Peninsula, practically all its inhabitants joined the terrorist group Ansar Bait al-Maqdis
, which is affiliated with the Islamic State
During its formative period, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, sought to go beyond the boundaries of Egypt and spread the ideas of pan-Islamism in the region. To this end, the leaders of the Brotherhood visited neighbouring countries, some of which later formed branches of the association. Representatives of the branches from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan and other states repeatedly met at conferences; however, it would be too much to say that the branches of the Brotherhood managed to establish close interaction. Indeed some of them had frequent quarrels.