But the swift moves raise perceptions of a revenge campaign against the Brotherhood.
The National Salvation Front, the top opposition political group during Morsi’s presidency and a key member of the coalition that worked with the military in his removal, criticized the moves. “We totally reject excluding any party, particularly political Islamic groups.”
The Front has proposed one of its top leaders, Mohammed ElBaradei, to become prime minister of the interim Cabinet, a post that will hold strong powers since Mansour’s presidency post is considered symbolic. ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace laureate who once headed the U.N. nuclear watchdog, is considered the country’s top reform advocate.
“Reconciliation is the name of the game, including the Muslim Brotherhood. We need to be inclusive,” Munir Fakhry Abdel-Nur, a leading member of the group, told The Associated Press. “The detentions are a mistake.”
He said the arrests appeared to be prompted by security officials’ fears over possible calls for violence by Brotherhood leaders. There may be complaints against certain individuals in the Brotherhood “but they don’t justify the detention,” he said, predicting they will be released in the coming days.
Abdel-Nur said the Front intends to ensure the military has no role in politics. He added that the Front is hoping for the backing of ultraconservative Salafis for ElBaradei’s bid for prime minister. Some Salafi factions have sided with the new leadership. He noted that the Islamist-backed constitution was not outright cancelled in a gesture to Salafis.
Morsi has been under detention in an unknown location since Wednesday night, and at least a dozen of his top presidential aides and advisers have been under what is described as “house arrest,” though their locations are also unknown.
Besides the Brotherhood’s top leader, General Guide Mohammed Badie, security officials have also arrested his predecessor, Mehdi Akef, and one of his two deputies, Rashad Bayoumi, as well as Saad el-Katatni, head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, and ultraconservative Salafi figure Hazem Abu Ismail, who has a considerable street following.