In an interview published in the New Republic this week, Hussein Morsi, the younger brother of deposed Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohammed Morsi described his brother’s tenure as Egypt’s leader as disastrous.
The younger Morsi, who is himself active in his local Muslim Brotherhood cell, or “usra,” said of his brother’s presidency, “I think it was a disaster.”
In the interview with Egypt scholar Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Hussein Morsi acknowledged his brother “made some mistakes” and described the presidency as a “huge responsibility.”
A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and of ousted president Mohammed Morsi holds a poster of Morsi during a rally outside the police academy where his trial was taking place, Nov. 4, 2013, in Cairo. Egypt’s deposed president went on trial over protester deaths, raising fears of new bloodshed four months after the army ousted him. (AFP/Getty Images)
Despite the fact that his brother had ascended to Egypt’s highest political office, Hussein Morsi, a high school math teacher, suggested the honor may have negatively impacted his own family.
“We lost many of our rights,” he said. “For example, when someone fought with my son, before I would fight about it. But [after Morsi became president] I couldn’t, because people would say that I’m doing it because my brother is president.”
Morsi served as president for a year, but his brother Hussein never visited the presidential palace. The brothers did meet at Mohammed Morsi’s other Cairo home and spoke by telephone regularly.
Hussein said he is committed to fighting for the reinstatement of his brother – to whom he referred as “Dr. Morsi” - as president.
“Everything will go back to its place,” Hussein Morsi said.
Trager described the Morsi family’s humble roots, having come from the impoverished village of Al-Adwa, a Brotherhood stronghold.
Morsi was removed from power in July and since then, he and top Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been on trial on charges of inciting to murder during protests last year. He could face the death penalty if convicted. During the first day of his trial, Morsi insisted he was still the legitimate president of Egypt.
“One Giza-based leader told me that phone communication is no longer safe for those Brotherhood officials who haven’t been arrested, so they now send messages to each other via their daughters,” Trager wrote.
Despite the challenges, Trager explained, the Muslim Brotherhood is far from being history.
While the government has cracked down on the organization in the cities, in smaller areas, the group continues its activities.
As to the future prognosis for the Islamist group, Trager wrote:
The fact that the Brotherhood is still functioning even somewhat normally in Egypt’s rural areas, despite a nationwide crackdown that has ensnared most of its top leaders, is good reason to question the widespread analysis that the organization cannot reemerge politically anytime soon. Much depends on what the Brotherhood’s leadership, perhaps even at the local level, decides to do: If the Brotherhood decides to run its own candidates as independents or support candidates from other parties in the next parliamentary elections, which are slated for next year, it could regain at least a small share of the influence that it lost during the past five months.
“Of course, the Brotherhood is hardly on the cusp of a dramatic comeback, but the fact that it is far from dead means that the struggle for Egypt’s future isn’t over,” Trager wrote.