Muslim Brotherhood





Muslim Brotherhood

Fotopoulos, Takis. “The Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic “democracy” in Egypt as Part of the New World Order.” The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY, 8.1 (2012): 13-46. Print.

Fotopoulos article focuses on the political rise of the Muslim Brotherhood within Egypt following the successful revolution that ousted the regime of Hosni Mubarak. The article starts with an analysis of the elections that followed the revolution, looking at the way that the Brotherhood defeated its rivals in the polls. One of the key observations that Fotopoulos makes in this analysis is that the elections did not just see a victory for the Brotherhood but for other Islamist groups such as the Salafists. A key argument that Fotopoulos makes in the article is that the rise to power of the Muslim Brotherhood within Egypt was the result of political manipulation by the transnational elite. According Fotopoulos, the political manipulations came to fruition through the efforts of elites within Egypt and local armies that were receiving support from the United States. The aim of this political engineering was to absorb Egypt, and other countries experiencing a rise to power of Islamist groups, into a New World Order of what the article describes as neoliberal globalization.    

            In the process of explaining the role of the Brotherhood in establishing the New World Order, Fotopoulos delves into the organization’s history looking at the alliances that it formed with previous regimes led by Nasser and Sadat as well as landmark events in history that influenced the policy and political inclinations of the organization. This analysis reveals that the Brotherhood has always been a political powerhouse in Egypt. Indeed, the author speculates that as far back as 2004, Western powers were aware that any installation of democracy in Egypt would likely see the Muslim Brotherhood rise to power. In conclusion, Fotopoulos claims that the decisions and actions of the Muslim Brotherhood government under Morsi’s leadership has established a type of Islamic democratization that could be adopted throughout the Middle East as a way of enforcing the New World Order that is being championed by the transnational elites.

Haqqani, Husain and Hillel Fradkin. “Going Back to the Origins.” Journal of Democracy, 19.3 (2008): 13-18. Print.

In their article, Haqqani and Fradkin look into Islamist political parties with the aim of establishing their origins and the possibilities of these institutions becoming active elements of liberal democracies. Their paper is based on the premise that the concept of Islamic parties such as Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the Salafists in Tunisia is paradoxical because of the fact that the faith provides no accommodation for pluralism. To understand the paradoxical character that defines these parties, Haqqani and Fradkin analyze the Muslim Brotherhood, as they consider it the first political expression of Islamism that was formal and organized. To this end, the article scrutinizes the beginning of the Muslim Brotherhood, placing emphasis on the group’s ideology. One key observation that the article makes is that the radical nature of the changes that the group pushed for, along with the manner in which was organized, effectively made it a movement instead of a political party. Indeed, the group’s founder, Hassan al-Banna, was of the same opinion claiming that questions regarding the relationship that Islamism had with political parties forced the Brotherhood to operate as a movement.

            The second part of the article assumes a second approach, choosing instead to focus on the relevance of the history of Islamic parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood to the manner in which similar organizations operate today. Considering the fact that Islamist parties base their ideology on the Muslim faith, Haqqani and Fradkin argue that their success will depend largely on their ability to combine the legitimacy of political authority with the concept of Islamic law.

Khalil, Magdi. “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Political Power: Would Democracy Survive?” Middle East Review of International Affairs, 10.1 (2006): 44-52. Print.

Khalil’s article was published in 2006, months after the Muslim Brotherhood had won twenty percent of the seats in an election process that most observers and critics claimed was considerably free and fair. Following this electoral success, various scholars raised the issue of the Brotherhood’s active involvement in the democratic process. This discourse was also based on the success that Turkey had experienced in integrating an Islamist party into the democratic process in the country without an increase in extremism or a violation of democratic rights. Khalil’s article is mainly a response to this suggestion as the author argues that the full inclusion of the Brotherhood in Egypt’s democratic process would result in a situation where the party used the system to advance its own extremist needs. In support of his argument, Khalil scrutinizes various aspects of the movement’s doctrine and ideology looking at the way that the party’s stands have changed over the years along with its reactions to different events. Through this scrutiny, the article offers an insightful look into the Brotherhood’s ideology, with Khalil’s main premise being that the party is an extremist movement that considers its Islamic agenda a prime cause. Though the author’s article is not objective and is heavily against the Brotherhood, it points out several key issues regarding the party’s doctrine and ideology that indicate that the movement is still quite radical in its beliefs.

Leiken, Robert S. and Steven Brooke. “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood.” Foreign Affairs, 86.2 (2007): 107-121. Print.

Leiken and Brooke offer a contrasting view to Khalil as they argue that the Muslim Brotherhood is a relatively moderate organization that presents an opportunity for Western powers as well as supporters of the democratic process in the Middle East. The main premise on their argument is that the Muslim Brotherhood may yet turn out to be an ally or adversary of the Western powers. This is because the movement has attracted negative attention from analysts in the United States as well as hostile groups such as Al Qaeda. Leiken and Brooke’s analysis into the Brotherhood start with a review of the group’s history, particularly its factionalization into various cells that differed ideologically. Accordingly, the article places a lot of emphasis on the political inclinations of the group as it tries to identify whether it leans more towards the process of democratization or towards extremist views.

            Another key element of the article is its scrutiny of the Muslim Brotherhood outside Egypt’s borders. The authors acknowledge the fact that the movement grew steadily within the Middle East over the last half of the twentieth century. However, they argue that the Brotherhood has not been able to combine the foreign branches into a cohesive unit. Interestingly, this disunity has enabled the offshoots to adapt to the varying political atmospheres within different states in the Middle East. Ultimately, the authors settle on the claim that the Muslim Brotherhood should be differentiated from radical Islam, an issue that makes it possible for foreign powers to cooperate with the group.

Lynch, Marc. “The Brotherhood’s Dilemma.” Middle East Brief, 25 (2008): 1-11. Print.

Lynch’s article is similar to Khalil’s and Leiken and Brooke’s in that it carries out an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood with a view of establishing whether the group is truly committed to the democratic process or not. This scrutiny is based on allegations that various analysts have made, that the Muslim Brotherhood is using democracy as a tool to place it in power, before installing its own radical government. Lynch argues that the events occurring between 2005 and 2008 were an acid test for the organization. According to the article, the suppression of the group within that period was a test of the group’s commitment to the law especially when subjected to undue pressure.

            Lynch’s scrutiny of the group focuses on its reaction to the repression that the Muslim Brotherhood faced under the Mubarak regime after the 2005 elections. During this period, the group was forced to rethink its political position and react in a way that would convince its critics that it was committed to the democratic cause. One of the Muslim Brotherhood’s reactions in the period of oppression saw the movement develop a platform for a political party from which it carried out its operations. This move saw the party answer its critics by reaching out to the public with a clear political agenda. Additionally, the Muslim Brotherhood continued to separate itself from violent groups as a way of cementing its legitimacy. With these observations, Lynch concludes that the group has answered some of the questions that analysts and critics asked of it but that there still an air of mystery around its true intentions.

Martini, Jeffrey, Dalia D. Kaye, and Erin York. The Muslim Brotherhood, Its Youth, and Implications for U.S. Engagement. Santa Monica, Calif: Rand, 2012. Print.

Martini, Kaye and York carry out a different investigation of the Muslim Brotherhood from most scholars. Their report focuses on one of the group’s most important wings, its youth. This report deals with post-revolution Egypt, during the period in which the Muslim Brotherhood had experienced a meteoric rise to power, through its political party – Freedom and Justice. The realization of the group’s political ambitions was exemplified by Mohammed Morsi’s victory. In relation to this victory, the authors note that the youth was an important party in the successful revolution in Egypt and that groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood need to address various grievances that young people in the nation have.

            The first part of the report focuses on the way that the Muslim Brotherhood youth is organized. By looking into this organization’s youth section, the authors are able to analyze its inner workings, community programs as well as the political differences between young people and older demographics in Egypt. The report’s analysis also looks at the threat that the youth pose to the Muslim Brotherhood’s unity. This threat emanates from differences over social issues. By looking at the social issues, the report helps to point out the different policies that the Muslim Brotherhood promotes.

Merley, Steven G. Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla. Jerusalem: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 2011. Print.

Merley’s book explores the Muslim Brotherhood from a unique perspective. Unlike other scholars, Merley looks at the way the international Muslim Brotherhood operates, using the controversial 2010 Gaza Flotilla attack as a backdrop for his analysis. Merley’s book acknowledges the existence of a Global Muslim Brotherhood that operates unhindered in Turkey, where it coordinates various activities that the author describes as anti-Israeli. The Muslim Brotherhood that Merley describes does not seem to match the ideology of the group in Egypt because of its willingness to support various extremist groups and their agendas with the use of different NGOs as operational fronts. However, by scrutinizing the Global Muslim Brotherhood, Merley is able to provide a glance at the possibilities of having the group operate without question and with the support of a sitting government such as the situation that is currently in Turkey.

            Merley argues that the Global Muslim Brotherhood is an international network of members and sympathizers of the group that came up through the cooperation of members scattered all over the globe. The author claims that many of the members live and coordinate their activities from Europe and the United States. Interestingly, Merley takes a bold move and associates the Global Muslim Brotherhood with violent ideals such as terrorism. Even though this book does not focus on the Muslim Brotherhood, it provides an insightful look into the nature of the movement outside the Middle East, while implying some ideological differences between the group in Egypt and its global offshoot.

Monier, Elizabeth Iskander and Annette Ranko. “The Fall of the Muslim Brotherhood: Implications for Egypt.” Middle East Policy, 20.4 (2013): 111-123. Print.

In their article, Monier and Ranko explore the Muslim Brotherhood’s exploits in Egypt in the period surrounding the revolution. Their study is guided by the idea that Mubarak and other analysts in the world held that Islamists were a threat to Egypt and the rest of the Arab world. Because of this, the Mubarak regime had consistently suppressed the group, even refusing to recognize its political status. Monier and Ranko argue that the period following the revolution appears to have vindicated Mubarak’s views, after the radical nature of the group seemed to come alive.

            The authors make several key claims within their article in relation to the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt and the rest of the Arab world. The main premise in the paper is that the failure of the Muslim Brotherhood to stay in power in post-revolution Egypt was attributable to the group’s discredited status as the organization that would lead Egypt into a better future. According to the authors, the Brotherhood failed to convince Egyptians that it was capable of freeing Egypt from authoritarianism, regaining the nation’s regional power and liberating the nation from dependence on foreign aid. Additionally, Monier and Ranko claim that the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood was the result of internal and external causes, a factor that will ultimately affect the regional alliances revolving around Egypt. The authors argue that one of the outcomes of the fall of the group will be a resumption of the repressive policies that Mubarak had in place against the Muslim Brotherhood. The article also states that the success of these policies in suppressing the Muslim Brotherhood may have a ripple effect over the rest of the Middle East with other governments taking action against the movement.

Munson, Zaid. “Islamic Mobilization: Social Movement Theory and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.” The Sociological Quarterly, 42.4 (2001): 487-510. Print.

Munson’s approach differs from most other scholars because he approaches the issue of the Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity from a sociological perspective. Specifically, the author uses the social movement theory to help explain the immense popularity that the Muslim Brotherhood within politically disenfranchised demographics inside Egypt. This analysis is particularly important considering the Muslim Brotherhood has spread through the entire Arab world with offshoots springing up and becoming politically active in virtually every Middle Eastern state.

            The first part of Munson’s study looks at the background of the Muslim Brotherhood, its main ideological principles and the issue of political Islam. The article then deals with other aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood that most other scholars seem to have ignored. Firstly, Munson attempts to figure out the reason why the movement was able to attract such large numbers in the first three decades after its formation. One of the possible solutions that Munson turns toward is Emile Durkheim’s concept of anomie, with the Muslim Brotherhood being a group that gave disenfranchised parties an outlet against the poor state that in which the Egyptian and Middle Eastern societies were. Munson also applies the theory of social movement, claiming that the Brotherhood’s popularity was the result of the group utilizing political opportunity structure.

Pioppi, Daniela. “Playing with Fire: The Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Leviathan.” The International Spectator: Italian Journal of International Affairs, 48.4 (2013): 51-68. Print.

This article analyzes the political activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in the period surrounding the Arab Spring. Through this analysis, Pioppi tries to explain the reasons why the Muslim Brotherhood was able to rise to the top of Egyptian politics in a legitimate manner, only to fall to depths that have seen it face the worst repression since the formation of the movement. Pioppi’s main premise is that the Brotherhood’s fall from the helm was the result of a poor political strategy that saw the group assume the role of a stabilizing force during the revolution instead of taking to the streets and leading the popular revolution from the front.

            The author starts the article by delving into the revolution that deposed Mubarak. Pioppi argues that the revolution as precipitated by the existence of heavily autocratic regime and a weak opposition. The Muslim Brotherhood was itself one of the weak elements of the opposition, a factor that the author attributes to the constant repression that the group faced under the Mubarak regime. Pioppi then claims that the period immediately after Mubarak’s resignation was followed by a series of transitions led by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces and the Muslim Brotherhood that were marred with uncertainty. However, the Brotherhood was ultimately unable to retain its grip on power. In conclusion, Pioppi claims that the Muslim Brotherhood’s main failures were its decision not to lead the revolution and the fact that it promoted a change process that was conservative and gradual.  

Stilt, Kristen. “’Islam is the Solution’: Constitutional Visions of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.” Texas International Law Journal, 46.73 (2010): 73-108. Print.

This article explores the constitutional vision that the Muslim Brotherhood carries, paying special attention to the fact that the party considers Islam a possible solution to the social issues hampering Egypt. Stilt’s research is guided by the fact that Islamist political parties are becoming increasingly important player within the political landscape of the Middle East. The parties now have the capability of influencing politics, following changes to the political landscapes of various countries. The authors claim that the changes allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to operate as an insider rather than a powerless observer as had previously been the case. Interestingly, the author considers Egypt an exception to the trend that has seen Muslim Brotherhood offshoots receive political recognition from some governments in the Middle East. Stilt argues that Western powers need to pay attention to the events playing out inside Egypt because they provide a glimpse into the possible results of the full democratization of the nation that would allow Islamist parties to become fully engaged in the politics.

            Stilt’s article places most of its focus on the ideology that the Muslim Brotherhood champions. The fact that the article uses documents that the Muslim Brotherhood published means that the goals and beliefs that the author explains are accurate interpretations of the group’s ideology. The article starts by providing important background information about the group, that can help readers understand the reasoning behind most of the ideals and attitudes that the movement’s followers harbor. This is followed by an analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood’s doctrine. The key observation that Stilt makes is that the Muslim Brotherhood firmly grounds its ideology within Islam and seeks to establish a system where the faith guides all aspects of Egypt. In conclusion, the article argues that the beliefs Islamist groups pose several challenges for their integration into fully functional democratic systems. One issue that Stilt points out is that the Brotherhood is vehement that women and non-Muslims should not occupy the highest positions of the government. This standpoint is likely to cause a backlash from critics of Islamist parties, who would argue that such attitudes exemplify the need to keep groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood out of democratic systems. For these and other reasons, Stilt insists that there is a need for the Muslim Brotherhood to clarify various issues within its agenda  

Wickham, Carrie R. The Muslim Brotherhood: Evolution of an Islamist Movement. Princeton: Princeton University, 2013. Print.

Wickham’s book focuses mostly on the development of the Muslim Brotherhood since its formation in 1928 to the period of transition that Egypt is currently going through. The book is unique in that it provides an in-depth analysis of the group, focusing on the genesis, development and ideological transformations that the group has gone through over the past few decades with a rather objective point of view.  The book’s analysis of the Muslim Brotherhood also takes into account the fact that the group has spread all over the Arab World, thus transforming it from a religious political entity into a popular movement. Accordingly, the events that play out in Egypt through the group’s actions could occur in other states where the Muslim Brotherhood has a significant presence and commands large followings.

            Wickham’s exploration of the Muslim Brotherhood starts with its formation in 1928 and follows through on the different transformation that the movement has gone through since then. The book takes into account the influences that different regimes have had on the Muslim Brotherhood such as the various attempts that deposed President Mubarak made to dismantle the movement. Through this scrutiny, the author is able to explain the underlying issues that resulted in the recent turmoil in Egypt as well as the intricate political dynamics that surround the state. Lastly, the book helps to explain the group’s ideological standing by showing how different events in its history molded its dogma.

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