If hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue, the double standards of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood may be another factor in the growing public hostility toward the group.
“In Egypt, a strange situation has emerged after the revolution,” commentators observe.
Political parties are subject to government supervision and required to divulge their funding sources – except for Islamist groups.
“Officials of these parties refuse to declare their sources of funding, while they spend millions of pounds before our eyes every day,” according to Sami-Joe Abboud, Naria Tanoukhi, Joelle el-Khoury and Sahar Ghoussoub.
“The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists are buying hundreds of buildings in the governorates of Egypt with money of an unknown source,” they write on ALMonitor:
It is enough to know that the Muslim Brotherhood owns 1,375 headquarters across Egypt, and that the main Brotherhood headquarters in the Muqattam district of Cairo alone was built at a cost of 30 million Egyptian pounds [$4.7 million]…..During the elections, the Brotherhood and Salafists handed out thousands of tons of free food to the poor in order to buy out their votes, and sometimes have subsidized the price of gas in a way that the state is unable to.
“We have repeatedly asked the Brotherhood and Salafist leaders to disclose their sources of funding, and each time they get angry and respond by directing insults and accusations against us,” they say.
The Brotherhood and its Salafist allies enthusiastically supported the prosecution of pro-democracy NGOs on the grounds that the wholly transparent foreign funding compromised Egypt’s sovereignty and advanced the interests of external powers. But they appear to have no such qualms about the opaque sources of foreign funding from the Gulf and elsewhere for Islamist groups.
“The use of anonymous sources of funding by Islamist parties undermines and endangers the state’s sovereignty and dignity, because it allows foreign parties to control the course of events in Egypt,” according to Abboud, Tanoukhi, Khoury and Ghoussoub:
Before the revolution, Salafist associations used to seek permission from the Ministry of Social Solidarity in order to obtain funding from Gulf figures and associations. … However, when Mubarak stepped down, the Brotherhood and Salafists forged an alliance with the military council based on mutual benefits. … As a result of this alliance, the council has completely ignored the Brotherhood and Salafists’ sources of funding.
On Feb. 21, 2011, the Ministry of Social Solidarity approved the amount of 296 million Egyptian pounds [$46.3 million], which was provided by the Gulf to a Salafist association as funding. …. They claimed that they spent 30 million pounds [$4.7 million] for the purposes of orphans and care for the poor. As for the rest of the amount, the association said it was used for “different development purposes.”