- Schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna founded the Brotherhood in the Suez Canal town of Ismailia in 1928, partly in response to the British occupation of Egypt. It was one of the first and most successful movements advocating Islam as a political program in a modern context.Don't tell me--they also build hospitals and feed hungry orphans. Too bad they're also bent on redressing the "wrong" (as Islamists see it) of Israel's existence. Or, as Global puts it sounding not unlike an Ikwan PR flak, "The Brotherhood supports the right to armed resistance to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory."
- Within 20 years the movement had grown to more than 500,000 members, with several branch movements in other Arab countries.
- The Brotherhood once had a secret paramilitary section but it now says it is committed to promoting its policies through non-violent and democratic means.
- Mubarak and his government saw the Brotherhood as the greatest threat to its survival but failed to prove any serious act of violence by the movement's leadership for more than 50 years.
- Brotherhood leaders have argued for social and economic reforms, and argue that given the freedom to choose, most Egyptians would willingly embrace a form of Islamic law.