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As Egypt's Morsi remains defiant, a former top Brother speaks out (+video)

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The head of Egypt’s state TV, Essam El-Amir, quit in protest over what he called Morsi’s mismanagement and dividing of the country. The secretary-general of the commission that is supposed to oversee the referendum over Egypt’s new constitution on Dec. 15 also quit, saying that he “will not participate in a referendum that has spilled Egyptian blood.”

And in what must be most embarrassing for an Islamist president, Al Azhar, the highest Sunni religious authority in Egypt called on Morsi on Thursday to suspend the decree and enter into real dialogue with the opposition.

Former top Brother speaks

Kemal Helbawy didn’t wait for Morsi’s decree to resign from the Muslim Brotherhood.

A former member of the Brotherhood’s guidance bureau, and its spokesperson in the 1990s, Mr. Helbawy joined the movement at age 12. He spent 23 years in exile in the UK until the fall of Mubarak. In March, he spectacularly resigned while live on a TV talkshow, on the same day the Brotherhood announced that it was running Khairat El Shater for president.

“It has been said that I resigned over El Shater’s presidential bid, but that’s not true,” says Helbawy in his office in Nasr City. “It was the reluctance of the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood in formally joining the revolution.... I told them on Jan. 20, 2011 – I was at the time in London in my exile – that it was a shame that we didn’t invite all the people to come to Tahrir Square. Because they had announced that they would not participate in what they thought was just a demonstration. Then when they did effectively join the revolution they left early, and they didn’t participate in the demonstrations during the transition period.”

Candidate Shater, who had done time in prison under Mubarak for his political activism, was ultimately disqualified from running and replaced with Morsi. He is said to remain extremely influential within the organization. 

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