CAIRO - Speculations about plans by the Muslim Brotherhood to field a candidate in Egypt's first democratic election since the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak are causing internal divisions in the powerful group.
It's an unprecedented crisis in the Brotherhood, a prominent Brotherhood member told The Washington Post.
Going back on their word is wrong. Islamists have to have morals.
Muslim Brotherhood leaders said last week that the group was considering fielding a candidate in Egypt's presidential elections, set to start in May.
Local media have speculated that the group would nominate Brotherhood's deputy leader Khairat Al-Shater for Egypt's top post.
Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie on Monday argued that the group was considering a candidate because remnants of Mubarak's regime and the ruling military council would win if it did not.
We certainly do not seek power per se, Mohamed Badie, the supreme guide, said in a statement.
But the move has earned the group the ire of its political opponents, who accuse the Brotherhood of seeking to dominate Egypt's power.
The nomination plans have also drawn fire from some Muslim Brotherhood members, who are worried that the reversal would harm the group's reputation.
After Mubarak's fall, the Muslim Brotherhood pledged not to field a candidate for Egypt's presidency.
Established in 1928 in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is the most powerful opposition force in the country.
For years, the Muslim Brotherhood was banned and its leaders were repressed by governments since the 1950s.
But the group has emerged as the most powerful group after Mubarak's overthrow.
The Muslim Brotherhood has won most seats in Egypt's parliamentary elections earlier this year.
But the presidency plans have been met with unease among some Brotherhood members.
All of the seats we got in the parliament are based on the reputation that we are honest, Mohammed al-Hadidi, a Brotherhood member who is Shater's son-in-law and a member of the dissenting group, told The Washington Post.
We just want to keep our reputation.
The Muslim Brotherhood has refused to support its former member Abdel-Moneim Abul-Futuh, who defied the group's orders not to run for presidency.
The group has also threatened to expel any member who would support Abul-Futuh for the presidential post.
Dismissing people based on political ideology reflects bad behavior of the Muslim Brothers against their own people, said Hadidi.
So if they go to the government how will they perform? How will they deal with other Egyptians who might take different opinions?
On Monday, Mohamed el-Beltagy, a member of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, urged the group on his Facebook page not to proffer its own candidate and to admit its mistakes.
However, Brotherhood leaders downplay reports about internal rifts.Twelve people outside the Guidance Bureau is not a protest, said Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein.