Demise of Muhammad Akif

WaelHadara in, ‘ According to his family, he was diagnosed with cancer last year, and despite declining health, was held, nearly incommunicado, by the Egyptian regime. Akef was widely celebrated for refusing to be nominated for a second term as the Brotherhood’s guide, vacating the post in 2010 after the election of Muhammad Badie and he remained one of the few leadership figures that appealed to a wide cross-section of Islamists.

His repeated court appearances over the past four years evoked images of Omar Al-Mukhtar in his captivity: white-haired, wrapped in a white blanket; a frail old man who must yet be surrounded by heavy security . . . Despite all this repression and semblance of control, the authorities refused to allow the funeral of an 89-year-old man to proceed on Friday. Only immediate family was allowed and the burial took place within hours of his passing.

Akef’s ordeal and ultimate death raise many troubling questions for both Egyptians and Westerners.’