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An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 8.40 pm Paris time.

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Latest update : 2011-07-18

The Muslim Brotherhood’s bid for power

The Muslim Brotherhood is no longer afraid to show its face. The movement, banned in Egypt since 1954, has been allowed to establish its own political party and to run in the next parliamentary elections. Its influence continues to grow, thanks to its charity work, which includes providing aid and free education to the poor. But who are its members? Does it really seek a democratic future for Egypt?

Could Egypt become a theocracy? The prospect of an Islamic state is not such a vague prospect: for over a century, the Muslim Brotherhood has been trying to make it a caliphate.

These days, their activists are no longer operating underground. Sympathisers can take to the streets without fear of being imprisoned. The organisation is no longer playing games and knows it needs to act swiftly to capitalise on its new freedom to gain ground.

The Muslim Brothers are the most organised opposition group in the run-up to the October elections. This "band of brothers" which was set up by Hassan Al-Banna in 1928 is often shrouded in mystery and sometimes provokes fear, but has nonetheless come onto the political landscape via a political party: the Freedom and Justice Party. Islamic activists entice the population through a network of social associations all over the country. They have charitable work to win the hearts of the population, and television to win their minds.

The organisation does not envisage gaining a majority, nor will it put forward a presidential candidate. But it does not condone the “Muslim Brotherhood Youth” protesters. What guarantees exist that they will respect democracy in the new Egypt? And why do they incessantly talk about "Jihad being our path"? Our reporters in Egypt decided to investigate.

By Noreddine BEZZIOU , Adel GASTEL

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