The Muslim Brotherhood has been a thorn in the side of Egypt's government for decades. Officially banned although tolerated according to the political climate, it is the country's most powerful opposition movement.
 
Now, in the run-up to local elections in April, the organisation is facing a sustained crackdown by the country's security forces. Leaders say more than 500 members are in custody, and accuse the government of trying to prevent them taking part in the polls.
 
Egypt's last parliamentary elections in 2005 saw the influential group scoop a fifth of the seats, to the consternation of Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, and the ruling party.
 
As the Brotherhood marks its 80th anniversary, what does the future hold? Will it ever grip the reins of power?
 

This episode of Inside Story aired on Tuesday, February 26, 2008 at 17.30 GMT
 

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