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Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain

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Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain

Introduction

The Muslim Brotherhood group has a historic presence in Bahrain, as it was established in May 1941 under the name of “Eslah (Reform) Society” as the first association bearing the thought of Muslim Brotherhood in the Kingdome of Bahrain. The society has taken an emblem and slogan from the Quranic verse “I desire nothing but to set things right as far as I can”. It was noticeable that the activities of the society was not focused initially on political actions, as it was interested more in preaching , advocacy, educational and charitable work, since its inception and until the nineties of the last century.

But that changed relatively when Bahrain’s king (Prince at that time) formed, in 2000, a committee to draft a new constitution for the country, as he launched a political process and what has been termed locally as “reform project” at that time. A political arm of the society was formed as a result, under the name “Al Menbar National Islamic Society,” which adopted the thought and orientation of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Al Menbar managed to win 7 parliamentary seats out of 8 they ran for, which was repeated in the 2006 elections, while the number of seats won in the 2010 elections were reduced to just two, which some observers related to the pro-authority media campaign that encouraged independents to run against them, because of their cooperation with elements from the Al-Wefaq Shiite block in number of files, most notably the issue of state property.

In light of this, the question arises about the impact of the Arab Spring on the positions of the Muslim Brotherhood in Bahrain, and the repercussions of the recent regional developments on the political activity in Bahrain, in light of restrictions imposed upon the Brotherhood, which is practiced in a number of Arab countries?

We can answer this question, through the following parts:

First: the relationship between the Brotherhood and the regime in light of the Arab revolutions;

Second, regional developments and its impact on the relationship between the Brotherhood and the regime;

Third: future scenarios of the relationship between the Brotherhood and the regime in Bahrain.

Conclusion:

In light of the political and security situation in Bahrain, and even with the regional pressures and declining parliamentary and governmental representation for the Muslim Brotherhood, there remains an important role for them that could be done as an element of consensus and stability in the country, as part of their reactivation of their historic role in Bahrain.

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