By Douglas J. Hagmann
Reports of a meeting between representatives of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and members of the Freedom and Justice Party of Egypt, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, were confirmed today. According to information provided by Bobby Maldonado, Manager of Media Relations for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the U.S.-Egypt Business Council hosted members of the Freedom and Justice Party of Egypt including Dr. Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, FJP’s Member of Parliament serving on their Foreign Relations Committee. The meeting was held at the Chamber offices in Washington, DC.
The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) was founded in Egypt on 30 April 2011 by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the ideological forefather of al Qaeda and Hamas, a supporter of Sharia law, and an advocate of terrorism against Israel and the West.
The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) was created by the Muslim Brotherhood following the “Arab Spring” uprisings that toppled Hosni Mubarak. According to a February 2012 report in USA Today, “[t]he newly politically empowered Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic organization that supports religious law and opposes Western influence, has supported a crackdown on those who disagree with them, including the very activists who helped bring about the free elections that the Brotherhood-dominated.”
Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a VIP of the delegation hosted at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is an outspoken proponent of Sharia law over democracy and openly critical of American business influences in Egypt. In the same USA Today report, Dardery complained that “American non-profit groups were working toward a type of democracy that will not bring Islamists to power, and this is wrong.”
Mr. Maldonado said the meeting that was held today, although private and by invitation only, focused on open and constructive dialogue to advance business opportunities between the U.S. and Egypt. The meeting was conducted to address business and investment opportunities for Egypt and the West.
Before any questions about the anti-democratic business environment in Egypt could be raised, however, Mr. Maldonado was emphatic that political beliefs played no role in today’s meeting. When asked what was discussed at the meeting, Mr. Maldonado stated that he was not present and does not know the specific topics that were addressed.
Also part of the delegation visiting the U.S. is Dr. Hussein El Kazzaz, an Egyptian businessman and senior advisor for the FJP economic team, Khaled Al Qazzaz, FJP Foreign Relations Coordinator, and Sondos Asem, member of FJP’s Foreign Relations Committee and senior editor at Ikhwanweb, the Muslim Brotherhood’s English language website.
The Muslim Brotherhood sent a tweet about their meeting with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today as shown in this message sent as the meeting began:
Tomorrow, the delegation is scheduled to attend a conference on “Islamist movements in power” at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace. It should be noted that the official motto of the Muslim Brotherhood is: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
Attempts to secure comments from administration officials concerning the Egyptian delegation’s meeting were not successful.