Critical Commentary: The Trial of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

Posted on November 14, 2013 by


The article “The trial of the Muslim Brotherhood” written by H.A. Hellyer of The Washington Post discussed the trial of the former president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi and 14 additional members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is an Islamic political orgnization.  On November 4th, the trial was adjourned until January 2014.  The string of events leading up to the trial starts in December 2012, after Morsi declared that he was “immune” from legal challenges and supervision while drafting a new constitution.   Different organizations who supported a military backed government over the Muslim Brotherhood decided to protest this decision.  Supporters of Morsi took it upon themselves to protect the president by targeting the protesters, resulting in death.  Many consider the trial of Morsi and the members of the Muslim Brotherhood to be long overdue, however the court is having trouble maintaining impartiality.  While Egypt is in a state of transition, many people have found the need to reform the economy, the security establishment, and the judiciary.  However, since the two sides—those who support a military backed government and those who support the Muslim Brotherhood—are in such opposition, a small disagreement can have deadly effects.  As Egypt continues to move through this period of transition, there will hopefully come a time when the results are beneficial to the people rather than traumatic.


In this article, the author remains fairly objective.  Hellyer discusses both of the groups, pro-Morsi and non-Morsi (those who prefer military packed government) and admits that neither side is completely innocent.  Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have not been held accountable for many of their actions and this trial is a way of doing that.  The fact that they are the ones on trial does give them the appearance of being so-called “bad guys” in Egypt.  On the contrary, it was reported that at the funerals of those who died during the protest, those who were pro-Brotherhood accused the others (pro-military) of waging a war to destroy Islam while they were on the side of God.  This statement shows the other group in a negative light as well.  I think that having both groups portrayed as the bad guys can be conflicting for readers, yet at the same time, can show the frustrations that both groups are facing during this time of transition.  Overall, Hellyer seems to be reporting what is happening as it has happened.  If he does side with one group over another, he does not force it or even make it known to readers which side he supports. 


I would like to go back to the idea of the frustration of the Egyptian people for a moment.  It was mentioned in the article that in the past two years, two Egyptian presidents have been on trial.  During those two years, they have attempted to reform certain areas, mainly to improve the economy, security and judiciary as previously mentioned.  These reforms would hopefully bring stability to Egypt in the long run.  However, because the two groups are almost polar opposites, nothing is being accomplished.  When two groups that are so different are trying to reconstruct the Egyptian government, I can’t imagine how they are able to move forward through their issues.  At what point does one group give a little for the sake of progress and the potential for a better future?  Or at what point do you set aside your differences in order to move forward?  I do realize that this is much easier said than done, and maybe it has been attempted, but what they are trying now doesn’t seem to have been working in anyone’s favor.


As events leading up to the trial unfolded, it was not a difficult thing to find.  From now until the trial resumes in January, I think that there will continue to be updates, whether it will be on the progress of Egypt’s transition or further developments relating to the remainder of the trial, I have no idea, but hopefully both.  I think that the objective reports on issues such as this help people outside of the situation to better understand what is going on, and also help people to follow future news.  The author does not seem too hopeful of an immediate change for the better as far as the continuing development is concerned, but that change will continue nevertheless.


Commentary: Hellyer, Dr. H. A. (2013, November 12). The trial of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Washington Post. Retrieved from

 Photo Credit: The Washington Post

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