The Cunning Muslim Bro’s Candidate

Do you speak Arabic? If so, you would recognize that the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muhammad Khairat el-Shater’s last name (el-Shater) translates as “the sly” or “the cunning.” Khairat, his middle name*, could be a derivative of the word “good” (khiar.) And what is the good, cunning one up to? He possibly may be the Muslim Bro’s presidential candidate:

Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Khairat el-Shater, خيرت الشاطر‎

Egyptian military judges dropped convictions against Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Khairat el-Shater, clearing the nominee of the nation’s dominant political party to run in the election, the group’s lawyer said.

“We have taken administrative, legal and judicial measures before the military judiciary and based on this, all convictions have been dropped,” Abdel Monem Abdel Maqsoud said in a phone interview in Cairo yesterday.

The Brotherhood said March 31 that el-Shater was its candidate for the presidential election that begins May 23 and May 24, making him one of the favorites to win and potentially increasing tensions between the once-banned group and the generals who currently rule the nation.

Nice Reebok shirt there, Shater. It is smart of be pictured in that sort of garb, it gives the appearance of moderation. And a toothy smile and a wave? Wow, we hit the trifecta: a smile, a wave, and a Reebok shirt!

Facts that make me more nervous about Shater:

-Khairat El-Shater joined the youth wing of the Nasserist Arab Socialist Union at age 16.

-Having become an Islamist dissident, he went into exile in England in 1981. After returning in the mid-1980s, he became an active member of the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1995, he became head of the Brotherhood’s Greater Cairo branch.

Facts that make me less nervous about Shater:

-The Middle East researcher Avi Asher-Schapiro considers El-Shater to be a strong advocate of privatization and free market.

You and your boys have been the unofficial Egyptian opposition party for years, Shater. Now you may get your chance to rule. Good luck. I think you will find it a lot easier to make noise than to lead. . .

* Naming conventions differ between the Middle East and here. What we may consider a first, middle, and last name does not translate directly between cultures. Often a father takes his son’s name and adds Abu to it. As in Abu Ahmed or Father of Ahmed.