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Brotherhood Blogs: Windows To Revelation, Criticism And Organizational Rise
Brotherhood Blogs: Windows To Revelation, Criticism And Organizational Rise
“Brotherhood blogs" appeared as a new media outlet several years ago. After a short period of their appearance, they formed a new phenomenon that has its media impacts and interactions with reality, not only in Egypt, but around the world through the universality of the web.
Saturday, September 20,2008 21:56
Islamonline

“Brotherhood blogs" appeared as a new media outlet several years ago. After a short period of their appearance, they formed a new phenomenon that has its media impacts and interactions with reality, not only in Egypt, but around the world through the universality of the web.

 

Many questions can be asked in dealing with this phenomenon, and the most important of them are those ones concerning learning the blogging history of Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and its development, trends of blogging of MB bloggers, their influence on the Arab and international media as well as on Muslim Brotherhood itself, and before everything, we should wonder who are those bloggers? Do they express themselves and their personal ideas and attitudes or they express MB way of thinking and its trends? Whether these blogs are working according to an organization or they are just a random phenomenon governed by free thoughts of their owners?

 

These and other questions were raised for discussion at a seminar organized by Islamonline.net, entitled "Brotherhood Blogs, Trends and Impacts." The seminar hosted a number of  MB bloggers including Asmaa Al-Erian  the blogger of "Al-Erian Daughters," Arwaa Al-Taweel the blogger of  "Feelings Reveal," Zahraa Amir Bassam the blogger of "Karakeep," Magdi Saad the blogger of  "Never mind” and Ibrahim Al-Houdaiby the blogger of “We will not stop.”

 

Brotherhood Bloggers Classification

 

"Brotherhood bloggers" confirmed that despite the fact that they belong to the MB; there is a big difference between blogs and the MB membership.

 

"Muslim Brotherhood ideology is wider than the organization, the first loyalty of each member of the group is to Islam, then to home at the second place, and to Muslim Brotherhood at the third place, so there is a difference between my personal blog and my belonging to the group as an organization, it is possible to publish something in the blog that is incompatible with what the group like or to criticize it,” Ibrahim Al-Houdaiby said.


Blogging is a good ground for revelation, and a personal need for writing as Asmaa Al-Erian indicates. “Sometimes blogs are shown organizationally, but in fact there is no kind of communication between blogs and the working in the MB, as this is contrary to the nature of blogging, since by doing that blogging may turn to an entirely intellectual or political work, and it will lose its meaning as a good ground for personal expression.”


Asmaa Al-Erian had started blogging since 2007 by a blog entitled “Al-Erian Daughters," the motive behind which was personal, according to Asmaa, which is to draw an image  for her father that differs from that prominent  leading personality of him within the MB, as this image is focusing on the family aspect and the personal life of Essam Al-Erian, the MB leader.

 

Magdi Saad agrees with Asmaa Al-Erian, pointing out that if the term “Brotherhood bloggers" has achieved popularity on a large scale, this is not an evidence on the organizational nature of the blogs, but the problem as Saad thinks lies in the classification, as it is easy for example to be a left-wing blogger such as "Alaa and Manal" blog, or to blog generally such as "I Want to marry" blog, but to be a “Brotherhood blogger” here comes the confusion between being a blogger and belonging to the MB.

 

He adds that the problem lies in dealing with Muslim Brothers as organizational blocs, while blogging is an individual thing, but this is because of the shock caused by blogging, as it made some people look upon blogging with a kind of suspicion and mistrust. Magdi does not object to the term itself, but the idea that there is a pre-arrangement or organization for blogging.

 
Magdi points out that there is a collective part and another individual in blogs. The collective one is reflected in the basic features of Brotherhood bloggers, such as writing about the military tribunals of businessmen and the regime treatment with the opposition, while the individual part is reflected in everyone’s dealing with these issues through his/her personal view, and here comes the difference between bloggers and the MB.

 
Brotherhood Bloggers’ Massage

 
Whenever we are talking about blogging individuality we should not overlook an important point which is that Muslim Brotherhood is an ideology as well as a massage, which was confirmed by Zahraa Bassam. Zahraa says "As an MB member, I have an ideology as well as a massage before being a blogger, which makes Brotherhood bloggers different from other bloggers from Other trends; We are Brothers, our breeding is based on Muslim Brotherhood principles, but on the other hand the Islamic idea is a general one, and every blogger deals with it from a personal point of view."

 

Zahraa stresses that the attractiveness of the term is a part of a general societal state, which gives it some kind of momentum and natural motivation that made it spread rapidly, not only in Egypt, but all over the world.

 

Blogging as Arwaa Al-Taweel thinks is a personal initiative by the individual, not an organizational mission that is mandated by the leaders within the group, as blogging is a personal choice as well as a personal freedom, thus it is a reflection of the blogger and his personal concerns through his topics and his blogging language, as these things help in revealing the blogger individuality.

 

“There are nearly 400 blogs, but not all of them are by Brotherhood bloggers, blogs that deal with general issues do not continue generally, as the condition of continuing a blog is the individual personality.


Muslim Brotherhood Blogging Phenomenon

 

Could we say that blogging is already a phenomenon within Muslim Brotherhood? If the answer is yes, what are the manifestations of this phenomenon and the effects of

it on the situation within the group?

 
"Magdi Saad" responds to these questions saying that Brotherhood blogging is related to the general situation of blogging in
Egypt, as well as the age of the blogger, as blogging within the group is a phenomenon of youth, and there is no one among the older generation who has a personal blog. Besides, blogging in cities is more common than blogging in rural areas, and this is natural because of the greater use of technology in the city than it is in the rural areas.


The reason behind MB youth interest in blogging, as "Magdi Saad" thinks, is that the Islamists in general, and not only in Egypt, were suffering from a state of media denial so blogging comes as a new media window to be the only outlet for the Islamists, and has already become a new and good outlet, and it was used ideally, as it gave the Islamists in general- not only Muslim Brotherhood - an opportunity to express themselves, put their ideas freely.


Zahraa Bassam agrees with this view confirming that restrictions on Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamists of various tendencies were due to the speed starting in the world of blogging, although there were some negative aspects of this phenomenon, the positive aspects of it are overshadowing the negative ones, and made everyone look upon it as a window and a good ground for raising and putting ideas.

 
Talking about the manifestations of this phenomenon in the situation within the group, takes us to the process of self-criticism by bloggers of some issues and conditions within the group, as "Waves in the sea of change" blog criticized the method of education and breeding within the group and described it as dominated by tension, acrimony, exclusion and regarding those against the group’s opinion as disloyal, which has aroused much controversy within the group.

 
In addition to Magdi Saad’s blog “Kinetic follies” in which he sharply criticized the student movement of the MB and its follies of the free union or the parade of Muslim Brotherhood students of Al Azhar University, which was an excuse for accusing the group of militarizing the student work, which affected the group strenuously in a period of vicious media and security attack.

 

One of the effects of self-criticism was the turning of blogging into a kind of shock for some leaders within the group; as the revelation of some personal activities has sometimes led to a clash, and an example of this is the blog "xxx" which dealt with the issue of sexual mania in the central of Cairo, which annoyed some members of the group as there are prohibitions on the moral side, as some people believe that the talking about the humanitarian and personal aspects is contrary to morals.

 

The Blogging Volcano

 
Magdi Saad divides blogging into two phases, the first phase is that of blogs establishment, as blogging began in general by individual efforts that reflected the blogger’s individuality and his activity, this phase started with the blog of "I"m a Brother" by Abdul Monem Mahmoud, and a number of other blogs which were dominated by the informing style.


The second phase is that of “the blogging volcano explosion" and the beginning of this explosion was the blog of "Forget", and other blogs that have established in order to follow up the developments of the tribunals, and disclose them before the world public opinion, and we can say that these blogs were one of the forms of media pressure, which spread the activities of the trials quickly which made many of newspapers and news agencies carrying a lot of their news and follow-ups from these blogs.

 
However, these blogs were stopped because they focused their attention on the public affair not on the personal side, according to Arwaa Al-Taweel. While Magdi Saad believes that "Forget" blog and the other blogs were a humanitarian reflection of the issue of the tribunals through the families of the arrested people, meaning that they were a humanitarian revelation through a big issue, then blogs returned to their miscellaneous nature.

 
Blogging and Organizational Rising

 

There is no doubt that bloggers’ relationship with the situation within the group has changed because of blogs. Magdi Saad believes that there has been a kind of attention and strict observation by leaders to what is published in these blogs, and there were many questions raised such as whether these bloggers are with us or against us? And views were divided concerning this issue, some regard it as a positive phenomenon and others regard it as a negative one.

 
Ibrahim Al- Hodaiby added that some have a suspicion and fear of what is published in these blogs; because this issue is concerning with the organizational vision, and somehow there is a kind of prevention to publish things that can affect the organization, and this is not a problem, as any organization has the right to protect its system, but there are limits to this protection, as it is not absolute, which prompted Dr. Mohamed Morsi to meet those bloggers for dialogue and discussion.

 
He adds: "There was no blog that published any organizational details, even mistakes and abuses have not been published, and this is not due to pressures, but the bloggers themselves did not welcome the idea of publishing the secrets of the group; and this can be due to the sharp attack by the organization against its members which drive them involuntary to preserve the internal structure of the organization against the external attacks.”


Magdi Saad puts a side that the meetings with bloggers could be a kind of containment and understanding attempts, as that at the beginning of blogging there were stereotypical leaders who regarded blogging as a negative aspect, and that the organization is the best way for development and productivity, but in fact there was no response to these views, and those views were personal and had nothing to do with the Information Committee within the group.

 
While Asmaa Al-Erian believes that there are some blogs which exceeded all red lines and criticized the conditions within the group, and the criticism exceeded the organizational matters to attack some individuals, however, Asmaa talks about her own experience, saying "there were no attempts to understand me, but there is a kind of understanding to what is published in the blog of (Al-Erian Daughters)."

 

Ibrahim Al- Hodaiby confirmed that blogs were in some periods a "moral means of living” for the blogger, as blogs were used as attempts to rise within the group, for example when "x" blogger defended the group through his blog before the public opinion, he is expected to be rewarded.

 
He says "In many cases the reactions against some blogs create a state of anger or psychological estrangement in the relations between members, which makes blogging lose much of its innocence and its real massage." Ibrahim believes that blogging has developed in general, and it reflects the status quo of MB with its all negative and positive aspects .

 

The Salafi Mood and the Future of Blogging


If there was a rise of the Salafi movement in
Egypt, then it also influenced the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Ibrahim Al-Hodaiby, there is a Salafi mood among some Brotherhood bloggers, which is reflected in an attempt to develop a system of priorities within the group, and in discussing personal issues of jurisprudence such as music, art, and the role of women and Copts, where many of the views came from a Salafi base that is against the development in these issues.

 
Concerning the blogging future, it seems so much cause for despair, and this is confirmed by Ibrahim Al-Hodaiby who says “the idea of blogging was probably a mistake, as Facebook could  in a short period of time pull the rug from under the feet of blogs, but it can be said that many bloggers have turned to Facebook, especially that the reactions of it were influential such as the calling for strikes of April 6 and May 4, which moved from the pages of Facebook to the street, while blogs have not been able to achieve this impact and popularity, which made blogs lose their luster faced by this new media outlet."

 
Blogs of some of MB members  remain a new media means for the group’s youth who moved the personal debate from narrow rooms to the Internet space, which represents more or less a kind of media movement for  the group, through revealing many bloggers their political identities, such as the blogs of " I am a Brother ", “I am a Brother, too” and " I am prohibited”, which tackled the general issues of the group and were the cause behind the confusion between bloggers and the group, and created the organizational perception of these blogs . These blogs will remain a free media window for those youth and a phenomenon that influences and be influenced.


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