Egypt’s Brotherhood Starts Service Push Ahead of Anniversary

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said it’s starting a campaign to improve public services, including free health care for a million people, as the nation readies for the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak.

The campaign, dubbed “Together We Build Egypt,” marks a return to the Islamist group’s grassroots efforts that helped it win millions of backers as the most powerful opposition movement under Mubarak. The program will be backed by businesses and civil-society groups and will include a push to upgrade or renovate 2,000 schools nationwide, the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported today.

The effort comes as President Mohamed Mursi and the Brotherhood, which fielded him for office, face mounting criticism from secularists and youth activists who accuse them of monopolizing power. Mursi’s opponents are planning mass protests on Jan. 25, calling for the revolution’s goals to be realized and the Islamist-drafted constitution passed last month in a referendum to be scrapped.

The Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, said on its website that it has already launched several initiatives, including convoys to provide medical services such as orthopedic, pediatric and gynecological check-ups.

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