Mohamed Montasser

Mohamed Montasser served as a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from January 2015 until December 2017.Mohamed Montasser, “The Text of Mohamed Montasser’s Resignation from “Media Spokesman” to the General Office,” Ikhwanonline, December 21, 2016, https://ikhwanonline.info/%D9%86%D8%B5-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%85%D9%87%D9%85%D8%AA%D9%87-%D9%83%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%AB/. His name is believed to be an alias and his true identity is unknown.Eric Trager and Marina Shalabi, “The Brotherhood Breaks Down,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, January 17, 2016, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/the-brotherhood-breaks-down;
Samuel Tadros, “The Brotherhood Divided,” Hudson Institute, August 20, 2015, http://www.hudson.org/research/11530-the-brotherhood-divided;
Abdelrahhman Ayyash and Victor J. Willi, “The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in 2016,” German Council on Foreign Relations, March 2016, https://dgap.org/en/article/getFullPDF/27762.
Montasser is part of the Brotherhood’s youth wing, which promotes a violent response to the perceived repression of the Brotherhood.Mostafa Hashem, “The Great Brotherhood Divide,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2, 2016, http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/62942.

The Brotherhood’s January 2015 press release announcing Montasser’s appointment as spokesman noted that he was “from Egypt’s young revolutionary generation… chosen by the Brotherhood in its effort to further focus attention on revolutionary action and youth empowerment….”Rina Asrina, “Muslim Brotherhood Appoints New Spokesman,” Mi’raj Islamic News Agency, January 25, 2015, http://www.mirajnews.com/muslim-brotherhood-mohamed-montasser-spokesman/54446. According to the release, his appointment also represented an opportunity “to further focus attention on revolutionary action and youth empowerment,” adding, “[t]here is no retreat from the revolutionary path.”“Mohamed Montasser New Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman,” Muslim Brotherhood Website, January 25, 2015, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=31980.

Montasser has accused the Brotherhood’s old guard of an ineffective, rigid leadership style, while challenging the insistence on non-violent protests.Mokhtar Awad, “Egypt’s New Radicalism: The Muslim Brotherhood and Jihad,” Foreign Affairs, February 4, 2016, https://cchs.gwu.edu/sites/cchs.gwu.edu/files/downloads/Egypt%27s%20New%20Radicalism.pdf. In December 2015, Brotherhood members in London issued a statement dismissing Montasser from his position, and announced Talaat Fahmi as the group’s new spokesman. The London-based Brotherhood members accused Montasser of violating internal regulations and giving statements to the media without the approval of the Brotherhood’s senior leadership.Khaled Dawoud, “The Brotherhood in the Shadow of the January 25, Anniversary,” Atlantic Council, January 14, 2016, http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/component/content/article?id=28104:the-brotherhood-in-the-shadow-of-the-january-25-anniversary;
Mamoon Alabbasi, “Rift widens in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood after spokesman's sacking,” Middle East Eye, December 17, 2015, http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-split-after-row-over-spokesperson-sacking-966712164.
However, the Brotherhood’s Administrative Committee in Egypt insisted three days later that leaders outside of Egypt were not authorized to make such decisions.Khaled Dawoud, “The Brotherhood in the Shadow of the January 25, Anniversary,” Atlantic Council, January 14, 2016, http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/component/content/article?id=28104:the-brotherhood-in-the-shadow-of-the-january-25-anniversary;
Mamoon Alabbasi, “Rift widens in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood after spokesman's sacking,” Middle East Eye, December 17, 2015, http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-split-after-row-over-spokesperson-sacking-966712164.
Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Arabic website, IkhwanOnline, refused to publish the statement announcing Montasser’s removal.Khaled Dawoud, “The Brotherhood in the Shadow of the January 25, Anniversary,” Atlantic Council, January 14, 2016, http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/component/content/article?id=28104:the-brotherhood-in-the-shadow-of-the-january-25-anniversary;
Mamoon Alabbasi, “Rift widens in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood after spokesman's sacking,” Middle East Eye, December 17, 2015, http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-split-after-row-over-spokesperson-sacking-966712164.

The incident deepened fissures between the old and new guard. Exiled members of the Brotherhood reportedly supported Fahmi’s promotion while the Brotherhood’s Egypt-based youth wing preferred Montasser.Mamoon Alabassi, “Rift widens in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood after spokesman’s sacking,” Middle East Eye, December 17, 2015, http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-split-after-row-over-spokesperson-sacking-966712164.l; “Egypt… “The Muslim Brotherhood” Splits into Two Groups,” Al Arabiya, December 20, 2016, http://www.alarabiya.net/ar/arab-and-world/egypt/2016/12/20/مصر-الإخوان-المسلمين-تتفكك-إلى-جماعتين-.html. In December 2015, now-deceased guidance bureau member Mohammed Kamal called the dismissal “illegitimate.”Mohammed Kamal, “Members of the Muslim Brotherhood: Stop Filtering the Accounts,” Al Jazeera, December 16, 2015, http://mubasher.aljazeera.net/news/%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D9%83%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%8A%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%81-%D8%A3%D8%B9%D8%B6%D8%A7%D8%A1-%D8%A8%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%B5%D9%81%D9%8A%D8%A9-%D8%AD%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA. The last statement on Ikhwanweb to mention Montasser as the official spokesman is dated December 4, 2015,“Egpyt Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman: Changes to Better Challenge Illegitimate Coup Regime,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, December 4, 2015, http://ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=32363&ref=search.php. but Montasser continued to act as the Brotherhood’s spokesman.Khaled Dawoud, “The Brotherhood in the Shadow of the January 25, Anniversary,” Atlantic Council, January 14, 2016, http://www.atlanticcouncil.org/component/content/article?id=28104:the-brotherhood-in-the-shadow-of-the-january-25-anniversary;
Mamoon Alabbasi, “Rift widens in Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood after spokesman's sacking,” Middle East Eye, December 17, 2015, http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-split-after-row-over-spokesperson-sacking-966712164.
Following Fahmi’s appointment, Montasser and Kamal formed a Brotherhood youth wing outside the control of the Brotherhood’s old leadership.Mamoon Alabassi, “Rift widens in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood after spokesman’s sacking,” Middle East Eye, December 17, 2015, http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-split-after-row-over-spokesperson-sacking-966712164.l; “Egypt… “The Muslim Brotherhood” Splits into Two Groups,” Al Arabiya, December 20, 1016, http://www.alarabiya.net/ar/arab-and-world/egypt/2016/12/20/مصر-الإخوان-المسلمين-تتفكك-إلى-جماعتين-.html. The youth wing is keen to keep the new decentralized structures that have allowed younger Brotherhood members to rise to leadership.Mostafa Hashem, “The Great Brotherhood Divide,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2, 2016, http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/62942. Though the youth wing advocates a violent response to the ongoing repression of the Brotherhood,Mostafa Hashem, “The Great Brotherhood Divide,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2, 2016, http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/62942. the faction has denied assertions that it broke away from the movement and reaffirmed its commitment to the Brotherhood’s ideology and goals.Mamoon Alabassi, “Rift widens in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood after spokesman’s sacking,” Middle East Eye (London), December 17, 2015, http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypts-muslim-brotherhood-split-after-row-over-spokesperson-sacking-966712164.

Montasser officially tendered his resignation as spokesman on December 21, 2017.Mohamed Montasser, “The Text of Mohamed Montasser’s Resignation from “Media Spokesman” to the General Office,” Ikhwanonline, December 21, 2016, https://ikhwanonline.info/%D9%86%D8%B5-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%85%D9%87%D9%85%D8%AA%D9%87-%D9%83%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%AB/. In a resignation letter released on Ikhwanonline, Montasser asked God to “grant a good beginning for our group, our homeland, and our ummah,” while acknowledging the “new blood running through the Muslim Brotherhood.”Mohamed Montasser, “The Text of Mohamed Montasser’s Resignation from “Media Spokesman” to the General Office,” Ikhwanonline, December 21, 2016, https://ikhwanonline.info/%D9%86%D8%B5-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%85%D9%87%D9%85%D8%AA%D9%87-%D9%83%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%AB/. In his resignation letter, Montasser expressed his continued support for the Brotherhood, writing that the group “did not and will not stop until the oppressors answer for the martyrs, the prisoners, and the tortured.”Mohamed Montasser, “The Text of Mohamed Montasser’s Resignation from “Media Spokesman” to the General Office,” Ikhwanonline, December 21, 2016, https://ikhwanonline.info/%D9%86%D8%B5-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D8%AF-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%B1-%D9%85%D9%86-%D9%85%D9%87%D9%85%D8%AA%D9%87-%D9%83%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%AD%D8%AF%D8%AB/.

On February 19, 2018, a statement on Ikhwanweb listed Fahmi, Hassan Saleh, Ahmed Assem, and Eman Mahmoud as the group’s official spokespeople.“Statement by the Muslim Brotherhood Regarding Official Media Representation,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, February 19, 2018, http://ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=32901.

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