"We have never been able to understand how the U.S. -- founded on, believing in and holding such respect for human rights -- could support and protect such a repressive and violent regime as Mubarak's."
Thirty years of corruption, he adds, "has had terrible consequences for the economic, cultural and social development of the country." In contrast to Mubarak's rule, "the new Egyptian government will be based on constitutional law and stand on respect for human rights, equality between men and women, and independence of the judiciary."
Many activists regard the highly respected head of the Arab Doctors Syndicate Abul Futouh, 59, as the pretty face of the Muslim Brotherhood.
"He is the best the Brotherhood has," said Nawla Darwiche, president of women's rights organization the New Woman Foundation, about the moderate politician. "But," she added, "they're all liars," referring to the group's repeated revisions of their stated political ambitions in the upcoming elections.
Abul Futouh himself wrote of the group's intentions three months ago in The Washington Post, "We are compelled to unequivocally deny any attempt to usurp the will of the people. Nor do we plan to surreptitiously dominate a post-Mubarak government. The Brotherhood has already decided not to field a candidate for president in any forthcoming election."
He draws a fine line in claiming that, as a founding and 25-year member of the group's executive council (since resigned), his run as an independent will have no associations with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Despite restrictions on their political activity, and due in part to Mubarak's willingness to let them stand as one of the few tolerated opposition parties, the Brotherhood did moderately well under his reign, winning 20 percent of Parliament as independents in the 2005 elections. They have earned their political support in part as a social service organization, filling in where the state has failed: providing food, medicine, and education to many of the country's rural poor.
Even some of the group's political competitors suggest their critics should relax. Amr Moussa, who leads the field of presidential contenders, told Reuters in March, "We have to move away the principal of rejecting the Brotherhood or any other group. Leave it to the people to choose who they want."
Billionaire businessman and Coptic Christian Naguib Sawiris, on the other hand, who recently launched the Free Egyptians party, recently described the Brotherhood's political agenda to The Washington Post as a diet of continued repression. "They have substituted the dictatorship of Mubarak with the dictatorship of the Muslim Brotherhood. That's where Egypt is going now," he said.
The open-ended question of what role religion will play in Egypt's political future is a source of much national anxiety. The possible political role of Salafi extremists and ongoing violent persecution of the country's Coptic Christians, who make up 10 percent of the population, raises concerns about state security and tolerance.