When a swarm of locusts recently engulfed Muqattam, a posh suburb of Egypt’s capital that houses the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters, humorists lay in wait. “Official spokesman: locusts retreat following President Morsi’s promise to fulfil all their demands,” quipped a popular Facebook commentator, hinting that after eight months in power, Egypt’s Brotherhood-run government is itself something of a plague. Soon after, a different kind of swarm menaced the Islamist group’s offices in Cairo. Scores of youths chose the spot to perform a taunting rendition of the Harlem Shake, a pelvis-thrusting dance that has gone globally viral.
It is not just in Egypt that the Brothers are taking a battering nowadays, and not just in the form of ridicule. From the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf, the many mainstream Islamist groups allied to, inspired by or sympathetic to the Brotherhood, whose main branch was founded in Egypt in 1928, face a range of tricky challenges. In countries that have so far been spared the upheavals of the Arab spring these can take familiar shape: the United Arab Emirates, still an absolute monarchy, this week began trying 94 alleged Brothers on charges of conspiracy against the state. Yet across most of the region the trials are of a new kind, brought on not by persecution as in decades past, but by the responsibilities and burdens of being in charge.
Read the complete story(Some news sites require registration)