On February 21, the independent Al-Masry al-Yawm daily carried the following report by Osama Salah and Munir Adib: “... A number of Muslim Brotherhood leaders affirmed that the anti-terrorism law, whose draft was exclusively published by Al-Masry al-Yawm yesterday, will not prevent the group from exercising its peaceful action at the level of reform and change, even though it will be more stringent than the emergency law and will render the coming stage the worst in Egyptian history... For his part, an MB leader called upon President Mubarak to sign a truce agreement with the MB for ten years following the ratification of the law to guarantee that the MB will not harm the regime in exchange for being allowed to operate freely.
“Another leader cautioned that the issuance of the anti-terrorism law will lead to the resumption of underground activities. Dr. Muhammad Habib, the first deputy to the MB Guide, said that the authority was trying to adopt all the legal, political and security measures to contain the activities of the MB and marginalize its role. He added in exclusive statements to Al-Masry al-Yawm that the MB’s work in political life was based on the second article of the constitution, which stipulates that Islam is the religion of the state and that the Islamic Shari’a is the main source of legislation. He pointed out that the group was following Islamic teachings to achieve reform and change through legal and constitutional channels.
“As for Abdul Monem Abdul Maqsud, the group’s attorney, he considered that the anti-terrorism law was much worse than the emergency law and that the coming stage will be the worst in Egypt’s political history. For his part, Dr. Al-Sayyed Abdul Sattar al-Meligi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council, stressed the necessity for the Islamic movement to operate within the legal frameworks and exercise its political activities far from underground action. He recalled that many MB members believed the regime was illegitimate because it emerged from forgery, which is why they were destroying these frameworks and disrespecting these laws. He added that this constituted a real threat to the future of the group.
“He cautioned that the issuance of such a law gave a greater opportunity for some Islamic movements to exercise underground activities, because it aims to completely exclude them... He believed that the best way for the Islamic movements to deal with this new situation imposed by the state was by respecting the law. As for Dr. Abdul Hamid al-Ghazali, the MB political advisor, he said: “We don’t need an anti-terrorism law and its issuance only aims to handle deviations and instability. I don’t believe it targets the MB”… Regarding the MB’s position he said: “We do not care about the issuance of such laws because the regime knows that the MB is a moderate group that rejects violence. These laws cannot limit the action of the MB, just as previous laws that were issued lately and during previous terms were unable to restrain it”.
“Advisor Ali Greisha, an MB leader, said: “I’ve known the MB for 50 years and I am certain that the law will not affect it”. He then called upon President Mubarak to sign a ten-year truce with the MB, in which the MB would pledge not harm or destabilize the regime, in exchange for the regime’s pledge to the MB that it will grant it the freedom of expression and movement. During these ten years, if the regime found that the MB was truthful, this truce would turn into a pact or an alliance. If not, no one would blame it for adopting measures against it...” - Al-Masry al-Yawm, Egypt