Helbawi contacted the MB-affiliated channel Mekameleen via Skype from London and announced details of his initiative – Photo compiled by Egypt Today/Mohamed Zain
CAIRO – 28 April 2018: Kamal Al-Helbawi, former spokesperson of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and member of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR), made a TV appearance on the Turkish-based MB-affiliated television channel Mekameleen on Friday as he called for a reconciliation initiative with the brotherhood.
The initiative stirred anger among Egypt’s political society as some politicians demanded an immediate trial for him. Some politicians deems this move as an exposure to his true intentions, as calling for reconciliation with the brotherhood contradicts his criticism for it over the last four years.
Helbawi contacted the channel via Skype from London and announced his initiative, which will commence by forming a Council of Elders of Arab and Egyptian experts and renowned figures.
Member of NCHR Mokhtar Nouh said Helbawi’s initiative is wrong and will be rejected by Egyptians.
Nouh added that the state cannot make reconciliation with a criminal who is accused of involvement in terrorist activities. He pointed out that such initiatives cannot be made at the expense of the nation’s sake.
He also added that Helbawi made a mistake because instead he should have called upon MB leaders outside Egypt to turn themselves in, pointing out that the brotherhood wronged Egypt and Egyptians.
For his part, NCHR member Salah Sallam wondered about why would Helbawi choose a MB-affiliated channel that is based in Turkey to announce his initiative instead of all the national and neutral satellite channel and outlets.
”If I had an initiative, I would never decide to announce it through Mekameleen, because it would get principally rejected,” Sallam added.
Another member of the NCHR and head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Hafez Abu Seada, said Helbawi only spoke for himself when he chose the MB-affiliated channel. Seada stressed that Helbawi does not represent the NCHR.
Margaret Azer, member of the human rights committee of the Egyptian House of Representatives, said in press remarks to Egypt Today that any call to make reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood will be rejected, especially that the brotherhood committed severe crimes against Egypt’s institutions and people.
Azer added that it is not reasonable that a NCHR member calls for such initiative and make an appearance on a MB-affiliated satellite channel to explain its terms. Moreover, she said that such act requires a trial against Helbawi and a reformation of the NCHR without Helbawi on its board.
Al-Helbawi was raised among a Muslim Brotherhood community. He is the founder of the Muslim Council in Britain, secretary-general of the Islamic Unity Forum in Europe and was the advisor to the Egyptian Salvation Front, which got dissolved after the Jan. 25 Revolution.
The Muslim Council in Britain is a U.K. umbrella organization comprised largely of Muslim Brotherhood organizations.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat on Jul. 26, 2013 he said, “The army is the only institution capable of maintaining law and order in Egypt.”
Helbawi is the former official spokesperson of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West; he resined from the organization to support dissent member of the brotherhood Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh who got sacked when he announced his candidacy.
Abol Fotouh was the favored Egyptian presidential candidate of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Additional reporting by Mohamed Ismail & Mahmoud Al-Emari