For the past couple of years, the Muslim Brotherhood has dominated the political scene in Egypt and beyond. But the extent of its involvement in business and economics is also worth investigating as many high-ranking Brotherhood members are millionaires in both their bank balance and their wasta.
As once was said, the Brotherhood has more in common with the Republican Party than Al-Qaeda. A keen eye for business and a sharp mind has allowed many Ikhwan members to dominate the healthcare, manufacturing and fast-food sectors in the Egyptian economy. That's a powerful monopoly for a country of over 80 million people!
The Brotherhood has consistently embraced free market capitalism, and there's nothing it loves more than privatization and foreign investment (...apart from protesting in Rabaa Al-Adawiya square). Money has provided the Brotherhood with the power and will to embrace its long-awaited political aspirations. The Brotherhood’s wealth paved its way to power, and made it very difficult to shut them out from politics and business. News of members’ arrests or the freezing of their assets makes it all the more important to understand how the organization has infiltrated Egyptian society.
It would be practically impossible to count every single business owned by the Brotherhood, let alone those belonging to individuals within the organization! If you take a quick look at the Egyptian stock market, it soon becomes clear: not one Muslim Brotherhood business is listed. The organization keeps its financial records completely under the radar. The only official record dates back to 2007, when a group of Brotherhood members were brought before a military court; at the time, only 72 companies were listed. Included were a number of retail clothing shops, and a construction firm. Today, their publicly known properties include Turkish luxury furniture stores, clothing shops located in Cairo’s upscale malls, a fast food chain with branches in the Gulf, and supermarket franchises in Cairo’s more affluent neighborhoods.
Although many of the Brotherhood’s business dynasties remain hidden, this slideshow picks the masterminds who have provided the monetary muscle behind the movement and are likely to continue doing so despite the challenges facing the Ikhwan now that Morsi is no longer in power.