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A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shouts slogans against the military and interior ministry with his poster while gesturing with four fingers, in front of Al Rayyan mosque after Friday prayers in the southern suburb of Maadi, on the outskirts of Cairo December 27, 2013. Egyptian police arrested dozens more Muslim Brotherhood supporters and deployed across Cairo before Friday prayers, as the government anticipated further protests from the Islamist movement despite having clamped down on dissent. The poster reads "Mursi is the Arab World's Mandela." The "Rabaa" four fingers gesture is in reference to the police clearing of the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp on August 14.
A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shouts slogans against the military and interior ministry with his poster while gesturing with four fingers, in front of Al Rayyan mosque after Friday prayers in the southern suburb of Maadi, on the outskirts of Cairo December 27, 2013. Egyptian police arrested dozens more Muslim Brotherhood supporters and deployed across Cairo before Friday prayers, as the government anticipated further protests from the Islamist movement despite having clamped down on dissent. The poster reads "Mursi is the Arab World's Mandela." The "Rabaa" four fingers gesture is in reference to the police clearing of the Rabaa al-Adawiya protest camp on August 14.
(AMR ABDALLAH DALSH/REUTERS)

Nervana Mahmoud

Why Egypt outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood: Distraction, calculation

The designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization by the Egyptian military government is the most recent example of a growing political agitation in Egypt, a new climax of an ongoing crisis that has shattered Egyptian society and its political establishment.

For months, since the ousting of president Mohamed Morsi in July, there has been an open confrontation between his Brotherhood and the military-backed interim leadership. Both claim legitimacy; the Brotherhood claims electoral legitimacy and the interim government claims popular legitimacy after the June 30 uprising against Mr. Morsi. The outlawing of the Brotherhood is a bold move, albeit a risky one, by the interim government to assert its authority as the representative of the people of Egypt against a defiant group that still thinks it has the means and ability to challenge the state.