Not noticed in the news is that 34 leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested before they could participate in the mass protests on Friday. However they along with thousands of other prisoners were freed from four different prisoners. In all hundreds of members of the Brotherhood were freed.
Armed gangs took advantage of the chaotic situation to engage prison guards in gun battles that resulted in prisoners being freed from four jails. Several inmates were reported killed in the violence.
In the western press there will be more and more stories highlighting the dangers of militant Islam. No one will notice the many political prisoners who have been arrrested without charge and jailed indefinitely. The ascendancy of Islamist influenced government could derail U.S. policy and control of Arab countries in the middle east. An orderly transition to democracy must involve stability and making sure that the democracy is properly managed. This is why Mubarak or his appointed successors must be the vehicle for the transition. Notice there is no call yet for removing the ban on certain political groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
The U.S. and others no doubt are already casting a wary eye on what is happening in Tunisia. Thousands of Tunisians turned out to welcome an Islamist leader who had been in exile for 22 years during the reign of former president Ben Ali.
The reception for Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of the Ennahda party, at Tunis airport was the biggest showing by the Islamists in two decades. The Islamists will demand they play a part in any new government.
Western countries will not call for Mubarak''s resignation but will cling to the hope that at the least he will be able to appoint people to manage any transitional government so the code word goes, stability will be ensured. Stability means keeping Islamists out of the halls of power. Just consider the view from Iran.
A senior pro-regime cleric gave official blessing to the protestors:"An Islamic Middle East is taking shape. A new Middle East is emerging based on Islam ... based on religious democracy," This is precisely what the west does not want and especially Israel. The speaker of the Iranian parliament said:. "The Americans can tolerate seeing blood shed in Egypt but not see a regime fall in Egypt into the hands of the people,"
Kamel el-Helbawy of the Muslim Brotherhood said that Islamist rule in Egypt would pose no threat to the west because it would be more democratic and broad-based than Mubarak's "dictatorship". That remains to be seen. In any event it is not at all clear that the Brotherhood would have majority control in any new government. Indeed al-Helbaway seems to admit as much:"A new era of freedom and democracy is dawning in the Middle East and Arab world. That's more important than declaring that a 'new Islamist era is dawning', because I know Islamists would not be able to rule Egypt alone. We should and would co-operate - Muslims, leftists, communists, socialists, secularists,"
The Brotherhood has distanced itself from more violent groups such as Al Qaeda but nevertheless western countries fear its power in particular how this would effect Arab countries relationships with Israel. I include a video by Press TV (Iran) that gives the response of a Muslim Brotherhood representative in the UK to the protests.