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The Muslim Brotherhood: Between Democracy, Ideology and Distrust

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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.

Affiliations: 1: Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Guelph Incoming Assistant Professor, Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, ; 2: Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Waterloo, and Balsillie School of International Affairs,


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