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Muslim Brotherhood: from1928

In the Egyptian town of Ismailia, in 1928, Hasan al-Banna founds the Muslim Brotherhood to campaign for a society based securely on the precepts of the Qur'an and on the sharia (strict Islamic law) as a legal system. The immediate political purpose is to campaign against the western values now commonplace in Egypt and the Sudan.

By the 1940s terrorism is seen by the group as an acceptable means of persuasion, though it also rebounds upon them. In 1948 the Muslim Brotherhood assassinates the chief of police and the prime minister. Shortly afterwards the Brotherhood's founder, Hasan al-Banna, is himself murdered in the street.

In 1954 an assassination attempt on Nasser in Alexandria is attributed to the Muslim Brotherhood. Six of its leaders are tried and executed, many more are imprisoned and the organization is suppressed.

For the next two decades the brotherhood keeps a very low profile, but it survives to take a new lead in the 1980s when there is a revival of Muslim fundamentalism. It is active in the Sudan. And its adherents are behind the disastrous uprising at Hama in 1982 against the secular state of the Syrian president Assad, whose forces suppress the rebellion at the cost of thousands of lives. Like other terrorist organizations, the brotherhood makes efforts in the 1990s to participate in legitimate politics as a political party.

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