The Muslim Brotherhood: Between Democracy, Ideology and Distrust

In: Sociology of Islam
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  • 1 University of Guelph Incoming Assistant Professor, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies
  • 2 University of Waterloo

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Following the Arab Spring, democracy exercised through free and fair elections had allowed Islamist political parties to gain power in Egypt. There was a transformation happening in the ideology of Islamists, who were increasingly trying to influence legislation through democratic processes and social activism. It could be argued that for a time, the u.s. and other Western governments no longer viewed Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as a threat comparable with Jihadist groups such as Al-Qaeda. This did not translate into a domestic political success, however, once Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood was elected into power in 2012, it simplified good governance to a single and effective slogan: “Islam is the solution!” Yet, it had no real solution to the everyday problems of Egyptians and the sheer chaos that characterizes the daily lives of its people. In a devout region with growing inequality and poverty, religious credentials will matter less than offering specific solutions to these growing social issues. This paper argues that the myth of political Islam has been exposed in Egypt and that the Muslim Brotherhood’s identity, torn between political pragmatism and religious conservatism, shaped its political actions under Morsi’s rule.

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  • 2

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  • 3

    Watt, W. Montgomery (1961), Islam and the Integration of Society, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, pp. 178–180; Mawdudi, Abu al-A‘la (1973), Islamic Way of Life, Kuwait: International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations, pp. 40–46; Hamidullah, Muhammad (1970), Introduction to Islam, Kuwait: International Islamic Federation of Student Organizations, pp. 107–109; Weiss, Leopold (1980), The Principles of State and Government in Islam, Gibraltar: Dar al-Andalus Ltd, pp. 1–4.

  • 5

    On 3 July 2013, the Egyptian army chief General Abdul Fatah al-Sisi removed the country’s elected president Mohamed Morsi from power and suspended the Egyptian constitution, a move that came after the massive anti-Morsi demonstrations on June 30, 2013.

  • 6

    Mass protests on June 30, 2013, brought out millions of Egyptians demanding President Mohammed Morsi’s ouster.

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