Gamal al-Banna, 1920-2013

From MEI Editor's Blog Thu Jan 31 2013, 16:51:00

Gamal al-Banna, who died yesterday at the age of 92, was the youngest brother of Hassan al-Banna, founder and first Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. He did not share his brother's views, but advocated a flexible, modern interpretation of Islam and opposed the Muslim Brotherhood. He questioned the traditional collections of hadith on which much Islamic law is basedk; he opposed the Brotherhood's advocacy of a Sharia-based state. A trade union activist as well, he evolved an anti-capitalist interpretation of Islam.

Though long prominent in Egypt, he was discovered by Western media in recent years, who were fascinated that the Brotherhood's founder's own brother (though 14 years his junior) advocated such a different approach to Islam.

Though he was in his 90s, the irony of his passing at this moment of crisis for the Muslim Brotherhood will doubtless be remarked upon.

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