If we are to list the main characteristics of the Holy Month of Ramadan in Egypt and in the Arab World, they are – other than fasting and praying – oriental desserts, soap operas and TV series. And this year the Egyptian TV decided to produce a series about the opposition party Al Ikwan Al Muslemeen (The Muslim Brotherhood), who are also referred to by the Egyptian regime as El Gamaa El Mahzoura or the Illegal Group. The TV series, which is called El Gamaa, tries to shed light on the history of group and it's founder Hassan El Banna; however it was criticised by many bloggers that it reflects nothing but the regime's point of view.
Tarek Shalaby compared the series to Nazi propaganda:
Hussein Ossman criticized El Gamaa here, claiming its writer is biased to the regime and to the the state security intelligence's point of view:
وعلى خلاف ذلك خرج علينا الكاتب وحيد حامد بمسلسل “الجماعة” الذى جافى الحقائق وكذب الواقع وخرج عن إطار الأمانة المهنية، فمنذ اللحظات الأولى من مشاهدتك للمسلسل تجد نفسك أمام عمل يؤكد لك أن الإخوان جماعة متطرفة تدعو للعنف والانقلاب على المؤسسية للدولة، وقد امتلأ المسلسل بالمشاهد التى قلبت الحقائق والتناول المغرض، فقد تبنى الكاتب تصورات رجال أمن الدولة القابعين فى لاظوغلى، ونقل عنهم نقلا أمينا، بل وجدناه فى مشاهد احتكاك الطلاب بالأمن كان أمنيا أكثر من وزارة الداخلية.
While on the contrary, Waheed Hamed – the writer of El Gamaa – created a series full of lies and fabrications, which is against all the ethics and values of media. Since the first moment, and the series kept on stressing that Al-Ikhwan are a radical group that call for revolution and violence against the state. And many of the scenes of El Gamaa turned the facts upside down, and the writer was totally biased to the point of view of the state security officers in Lazoghly (where the Egyptian State Security Investigative Bureau is located). And in the scenes showing the tension between the students and the security forces, he was even more biased to the Security Forces than the Ministry of Interior itself.
Other bloggers, who also found it biased, believed that the series – unintentionally – did Al-Ikwan a big favour.
Maggie Osama and Nawara Negm, for example, said that the Jordanian actor playing Hassan El Banna's role is handsome enough to let people like El Banna and his group instead of hating them.
And Nawara wrote in her blog how the ones responsible for the casting of this series have shot themselves in the foot:
And another user on Twitter posted a link showing how the series raised people's interest in learning more about Al-Ikhwan's founder as the increase of searches on Google show:
Ibrahim Mohamed, on the other hand, liked the series, and wrote in his blog “Hanany” how he found the script and information offered satisfying:
اول مرة احس ان اللي عاملين المسلسل واخدين موقف حيادي شوية
ولاني قريت كتير جدا في تاريخ الاخوان خاصة شخصية الامام حسن البنا ونشأته وحياته وتاريخ تأسيس الجماعه شايف انهم لغاية دلوقتي ماشين كويس
رغم انهم بيحطوا احيانا السم في العسل
The series is also attracting attention outside Egypt. Lebanese Naeema tweeted:
And finally, Abdel Monem Mahmoud wrote in his blog (Ana Ikhwan), about the other series that Ikwan were going to produce themselves, but about a year and a half has already gone and it hasn't seen light yet: