The Muslim Brotherhood’s local leadership in Egypt has refused to acknowledge a decision issued by the movement’s London office on Monday to remove the group’s official spokesperson, Mohamed Montasser, further deepening internal rifts within the group.
Fractures within the Muslim Brotherhood have resurfaced with a conflict between the local leadership based in Egypt and the London office over the position of spokesperson.
On Monday, the Egypt-based group refused to acknowledge the decision issued by London to replace Montasser with Talaat Fahmy.
The spat is the latest manifestation of a conflict that has been brewing within the Brotherhood since its ouster from power in 2013.
Following the removal of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency, a committee was elected to run the group’s affairs in Egypt. When the committee started to move away from the Brotherhood’s traditional non-violent position, the established leadership sought to re-establish control.
This group, led led by Mahmoud Ezzat and Mahmoud Hussein, has since been in a power struggle with the elected committee.
Montasser was elected to his position last January and has aligned himself with the younger, more radical elements who are advocating violence. The decision to remove Montassesr him was prompted by particularly fiery comments that he made including a call for protests on January 25 to bring down the military.
The Brotherhood’s official website, controlled by the committee based in Egypt, responded to the decision with a statement in which it asserted that Montasser remains the group’s spokesperson and that administrative decisions are made only by the committee, which runs the group’s affairs from within the country and not from abroad.
The statement also called on the group and all revolutionaries to focus on “the January wave,” calling for a revolutionary movement against the current regime.
The group’s Alexandria office announced on Monday the suspension of Fahmy’s membership in a show of protest.
In an interview with Al Jazeera on Monday, Montasser asserted that only the elected local committee can run the affairs of the group, and that members that are currently outside the country, regardless of their position, can’t impose any decisions. He added that the group in Egypt has chosen the “revolutionary path” and will not abandon it.
Fahmy, meanwhile, told Al Jazeera that the decision to appoint him was made in Egypt and relayed to the London office, where it was then communicated to the media.