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Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Risks Dissolution in State Crackdown

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Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) -- An Egyptian judicial advisory panel said the Muslim Brotherhood’s registration ran afoul of the law, raising the possibility it could be dissolved as ousted President Mohamed Mursi is referred to criminal court.

The non-binding opinion by a panel that advises an Egyptian administrative court marks the latest blow to the organization, whose fortunes have plunged from power broker under Mursi to pariah with the Islamist’s July 3 overthrow.

The panel said the Brotherhood ran afoul of laws governing associations and recommended its registration be suspended. A Cairo administrative court postponed until Nov. 5 a hearing on the possible dissolution of the group.

The advisory opinion was handed down a day after Mursi was referred to court on allegations he incited the killing of protesters outside a Cairo presidential palace in one of the most violent confrontations involving his supporters. Two other top Brotherhood leaders and 12 other members of the organization were also charged in the case.

The referral comes amid the harshest crackdown the Brotherhood has faced in decades, threatening to further inflame the country’s turmoil. Egypt is struggling to revive a moribund economy, heal deep rifts between secularists and Islamists and push ahead with a political transition that entails amending the suspended constitution largely drafted by Islamists and holding new elections early next year.

Constitutional Amendments

Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, yesterday ordered the formation of a 50-member panel to address constitutional amendments. The panel, which has 60 days to finish its work, is largely made up of secularists.

While working to quash the Brotherhood and end its diminished, near-daily protests, the military-backed government also faces mounting security risks, including a foiled attack on a ship passing through the Suez Canal and militant assaults on security forces in the northern Sinai peninsula.

The military tightened security following the Aug. 31 incident on the canal, which handles 8 percent of world trade. The canal and the ships passing through it are completely secured, the state-run Middle East News Agency citied Osama Askar, commander of the Third Field Army, as saying.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tarek El-Tablawy in Cairo at teltablawy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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