“The Muslim Brotherhood is a legal association registered under number 644 for the year 2013,” the main headline on the group’s official website Ikhwanonline.com declared on 20 March, only hours after the Supreme Administrative Court’s Board of Commissioners said the group was illegal and should be dissolved.
The court adjourned to 23 April the ruling on the challenge filed by Brotherhood lawyers in 1992 after the Cairo Administrative Court ruled to reject a similar challenge filed by former Brotherhood Supreme Guide Omar al-Telmesany in 1977.
Telmesany had sought to challenge the 1954 Revolution Command Council decision to dissolve the group, despite the fact that the 1956 Constitution protected any council decision, even in the event that the Constitution expired.
In an attempt to preempt the ruling expected Tuesday, the Insurance and Social Affairs Ministry and Brotherhood announced the group was registered and had legalized its status in accordance with Law 84/2002, which governs the activities of civil society entities operating in Egypt.
The timing of the registration raised the ire of many who have been calling for the Brotherhood — which is now in a position of power in both the executive and legislative branches of the state — to reveal more details about its organization. The looming question is whether legalizing the group is merely a gesture — or a true commitment to stepping out of its long-held opacity.
Omar Halawa / Egypt independent