‘Brotherhood chief suspends Ramadan fast’
Tweets purported to be from Mohammed Badie say fight for control of Egypt will be waged later this month
Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel
A series of Twitter posts attributed to Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohammed Badie claimed on Monday that protesters against the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi may break the fast of Ramadan, since they were in a “state of jihad” and would soon wage a battle for control of Egypt.
The tweets, sent from an account purporting to be managed by the media department of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance department “under direct guidance from Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Mohammed Badie,” compared the struggle against the June 30 military coup — centered around a sit-in at Cairo’s Rabia al-Adawiya Mosque — to the Battle of Badr, a decisive battle waged between the Prophet Muhammad and his adversaries from the tribe of Quraish in the year 624.
“The ruling against those who leave Rabia al-Adawiya Square is akin to the ruling against those who flee the battle and jihad against the infidels,” read one message on Sunday. A meeting between Badie and a number of Muslim Brotherhood officials led to a decision to prepare for “the second Battle of Badr” on the battle’s anniversary, 17 Ramadan (July 26), the message added.
Muslim tradition holds that the followers of Islam suspended their Ramadan fast during the Battle of Badr to be combat ready.
Egyptian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Badie on July 10, and he has made no public appearances since the military coup against Morsi on June 30. Another account with over 300,000 followers believed to be used by Badie personally has been inactive since June 29.
The Twitter warnings came as thousands of pro-Brotherhood protesters marched on Sunday evening from Rabia al-Adawiya to the nearby headquarters of Egypt’s National Security building in Nasr City demanding the reinstatement of Morsi as Egypt’s president. Army aircraft hovered above the crowd, dropping leaflets that called on the protesters to go home “because your family needs you,” the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
Meanwhile, Egyptian media reported on Sunday that attorney general Hisham Barakat ordered a freeze on the assets of a number of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi officials, including Badie’s.
On Saturday, the Algerian daily En-Nahar Al-Jadid reported that Badie announced the coming of a “Free Egyptian Army” to fight Morsi’s ouster, a statement denied as “utterly false” by the Muslim Brotherhood website late Sunday night, claiming that Badie never commented to “an Egyptian or non-Egyptian newspaper.”
“The Muslim Brotherhood’s resistance to the military coup is peaceful, encompassing the masses who cannot forgo their freedom and sovereignty,” the website said.
Editor’s note: This report was updated on July 15 at 5:30 p.m. to correct an earlier version.