In Egypt, human rights groups are increasingly alarmed at the completely predictable power-grab moves by the radical Muslim Brotherhood. The jihad-embracing movement with a blood-spattered history had vowed not to field a presidential candidate in this year’s elections, but reneged this week (see our earlier coverage of that story here).

Of note in Washington, D.C. as Egyptian election developments unfold abroad: The U.S.-based Muslim Public Affairs Council will be hosting the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday.

It’s billed as a “dialogue.”

Democracy activist and outspoken critic of Islamic jihad Dr. Zuhdi Jasser casts well-deserved skepticism:

https://twitter.com/#!/DrZuhdiJasser/status/185946583802716161

A Twitter user notes that the Muslim Brotherhood recently extolled female genital mutilation as…”beautification:”

https://twitter.com/#!/AIFDemocracy/status/186664689260953600

More “unease” — reported by, yes, National Public Radio:

The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups in Egypt are flexing their growing political muscle. They control the legislative agenda in parliament, and in recent weeks introduced controversial proposals to curb social freedoms and legal rights.

Islamist lawmakers also handpicked a 100-member panel that began meeting this week to write a new constitution, which is widely expected to enshrine Islamic law.

Even so, Islamist leaders say they want Egypt to remain a secular state. But many secular Egyptians are not convinced.

Salwa Gerges is one of many Egyptians at an outdoor clothing market in Cairo nervous about the Islamist politicians’ plans.

The 46-year-old Coptic Christian housewife says she has a hard time believing the politicians embrace secularism and diversity. She points to one Islamist lawmaker who recently proposed adopting punishments prescribed by religious law, such as cutting off limbs.

Fellow shopper Mona El Shazly is also annoyed with what she sees as the mixed messages coming from the Islamists.

The nursery school owner and conservative Muslim complains that Islamists have done nothing to fix Egypt’s deteriorating economy and security. Instead, she says, the Islamists come up with misguided proposals like stripping foreign-language instruction from Egyptian primary schools.