The ancient neighborhood of al-Darb al-Ahmar was where the Muslim Brotherhood built its first headquarters in Cairo.
Ownership of the premises, which was built on 500 meters of land, was given as a donation to Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. This was the first nerve center of Brotherhood activities.
In 1935, the building was turned into a liaison office between the group and the world. It brought together the group’s division in Cairo and its counterparts in other countries.
Correspondences between the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist movements were sent from and received at this building. The building bore witness to important developments and was the birthplace of a large number of Muslim Brotherhood conspiracies.
Al-Banna had strong relations with all those who shared his dreams for the Islamic nation. These adherents used to visit him at the building in al-Darb al-Ahmar. They included the first president of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who passed by the ancient neighborhood in 1946 on his way back from Britain to discuss his country’s separation from India with al-Banna.
Jinnah commented on his meeting with al-Banna by saying: “Having an independent Islamic state in the south of the Asian continent is as important to the Egyptian people as to Indian Muslims. A Muslim state in the Indian subcontinent will provide Muslims in Egypt with freedom and protection from Hindu occupation.”
On August 1947, Pakistan declared its independence and Jinnah became the first president of the state. Al-Banna sent Jinnah a telegram to congratulate him.
Among those who visited al-Darb al-Ahmar was the Algerian Islamic scholar, Fodil el-Ouartilani*, who was sent by al-Banna to Yemen in 1947 to start a revolution against Imam Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din*. El-Quartilani promoted the Muslim Brotherhood’s ideology in Yemen, taking advantage of the country’s tribe-based society which was easy to influence by religion.
On February 1948, Imam Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din was shot and killed. His assassin, known as al-Qardaei, killed him after receiving an official fatwa.
The late Islamist movement researcher, Hossam Tammam, wrote in his book “Muslim Brotherhood Shifts” that the group’s headquarters in al-Darb al-Ahmar functioned as a foreign ministry that helped the group communicate with all top Muslim officials and leaders at the time.
The fifth supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mustafa Mashhour, completed what al-Banna started half a century earlier by signing the July 1982 Declaration of the International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. The new organization maintained the role played by the old al-Darb al-Ahmar building, namely acting as a communication point with Islamic leaders outside Egypt.
The new organization worked to liberate Islamic nations from tyrants. It fought poverty in Islamic countries and acted to defend Muslim minorities in predominantly non-Muslim states. It also worked to unite all Muslims under the divine law of God.
According to Tammam, the Islamic Center in the German city of Munich, which was founded by Saed Ramadan*, played a role in strengthening ties between the group’s leaderships around the world. The center also, Tammam said, helped the group follow on its international causes, such as the Jihad in Afghanistan.
* An Algerian Islamist activist who became close to al-Banna after moving to Cairo
* Yahya Muhammad Hamid ed-Din (or Imam Yahya) (18 June 1869 — 17 February 1948)  became the imam of the Zaydis in 1904 after the death of his father, Muhammad Al-Mansur,  and Imam of Yemen in 1918.
*Al-Banna’s son-in-law and his personal secretary, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood branch in Germany.