Skip to content
Subscriber Only

The Economic Vision of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Millionaires

Once condemned as violent extremists, the Muslim Brotherhood has emerged as Egypt’s dominant political force. Now the group’s leaders are setting out to rebuild the country’s economy—one businessman at a time
Hassan Malek is organizing the businessmen of the Brotherhood. Brotherhood chief strategist and financier Khairat el-Shater (poster) had been a ­presidential front-runner
Hassan Malek is organizing the businessmen of the Brotherhood. Brotherhood chief strategist and financier Khairat el-Shater (poster) had been a ­presidential front-runnerPhotographs by Shawn Baldwin

Hassan Malek lives in Heliopolis, an upper-class neighborhood in Cairo full of high-end shopping malls, Italian restaurants, modern apartment buildings, and ornate villas. Much of Cairo is chaotic, crowded, and poor, and Heliopolis’s broad, manicured avenues create an atmosphere of exclusivity and privilege. It was likely jarring when, early one morning five years ago, policemen barricaded Malek’s street, ransacked his home, and threw him in jail. This was what the Mubarak regime did to men like Malek, who was not only a member of the Muslim Brotherhood but also very rich.

“They allowed me to reach a certain level, but there was a ceiling,” says Malek, 53, who as the chairman of the Malek Group runs the Egyptian branches of a Turkish furniture company, Istikbal, and a clothing brand called Sarar. Mild-mannered and serious in conservative suits, Malek would easily blend in with the Wall Street crowd.