Mohammed Mahdi Akef (born July 12, 1928) was the seventh Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egypt-based Islamic political movement, from 2004 until 2010. He assumed the post, that of “general guide” upon the death of his predecessor, Ma’mun al-Hudaybi. Akef was arrested on 4 July 2013. On 14 July 2013 Egypt’s new prosecutor general Hisham Barakat ordered his assets to be frozen.
Akef was born in 1928 in Kafr Awad Al Seneita –Aga – Dakahliya Province, in the north of Egypt. The year of his birth was the year the Muslim Brotherhood Movement was founded.
Akef obtained his Primary Certificate of Education at Al Mansoura Primary School, and obtained his Secondary Certificate of Education at Cairo- Fuad 1st Secondary School. He then joined the Higher Institute of Physical Education and graduated in May 1950, after which he worked as a teacher at Fuad 1st Secondary School.
He first became involved with the Muslim Brotherhood in 1940, which was then led by Hassan al Banna.
Akef joined the Faculty of Law and assumed responsibility for the Brotherhood’s training camps at Ibrahim University (present-day Ain Shams University). This was during the struggle against the British occupation in the Canal preceding the 1952 Revolution, after which he left responsibility to Kamaleddin Hussein, then National Guard Chief.
The last Sections he headed in the Muslim Brotherhood before 1954 were both the Students Section and the PE Section at the Groups HQ.
He was arrested on 1 August 1954 and stood trial on charges including smuggling Major General Abdul Munem Abderraoof (one of the Army chiefs who spearheaded the ouster and expulsion of King Farouq), and was sentenced to death in absentia before the ruling was commuted to life imprisonment.
Akef was released in 1974 and was reappointed General Manager of Youth – a department affiliated to the Ministry of Reconstruction.
He then moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to work as an advisor for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth and was in charge of its camps and conferences. He took part in organizing the biggest camps for the Muslim youth on the world arena; in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Turkey, Australia, Mali, Kenya, Cyprus, Germany, Britain and America.
He assumed the position of Director of Islamic Centre in Munich.
He has been a member of the Steering Bureau (Guidance Bureau) of the Muslim Brotherhood, since 1987.
He was elected Member of Parliament in 1987 for the East Cairo electoral constituency.
In 1996, he was court-martialed, charged with being head of the Muslim Brotherhood International Organization, and was sentenced to three years. He was released in 1999.
In 2005, he denounced what he called “the myth of the Holocaust” in defending Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust, and accused the United States of attacking anyone who raised questions about the Holocaust.
On October 19, 2009 Egyptian newspapers reported that Akef had resigned as the general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood after a dispute among various leaders in the group. However the following day reports on the Muslim Brotherhood website stated that Akef had not resigned and would continue to serve as the group’s general guide until elections in January 2010.
Akef’s health deteriorated while he was imprisoned by the Egyptian authorities after the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état, his daughter affirmed that he was isolated in the prison hospital and was only allowed a visit once a week, despite his old age and poor health