The Muslim Brotherhood in Contemporary Egypt
Democracy Redefined or Confined?
By Mariz Tadros
Routledge – 2012 – 196 pages
Routledge – 2012 – 196 pages
The Muslim Brotherhood is one of the oldest and most influential Islamist movements. As the party ascends to power in Egypt, it is poised to adopt a new system of governance and state–society relations, the effects of which are likely to extend well beyond Egypt’s national borders. This book examines the Brotherhood’s visions and practices, from its inception in 1928, up to its response to the 2011 uprising, as it moves to redefine democracy along Islamic lines. The book analyses the Muslim Brotherhood’s position on key issues such as gender, religious minorities, and political plurality, and critically analyses whether claims that the Brotherhood has abandoned extremism and should be engaged with as a moderate political force can be substantiated. It also considers the wider political context of the region, and assesses the extent to which the Brotherhood has the potential to transform politics in the Middle East.
"The author is exquisitely sensitive to the multi-vocal nature of the Brotherhood, canvassing a wide variety of sources in order to generate a detailed picture of the full spectrum of Brotherhood beliefs on these issues… Though this perspective may seem, on the surface, similar to those who argue that the Brotherhood practices taqiyya [dissimulation] and kitman [concealment], Tadros eschews such terms. The account offered here suggests that there is nothing intentionally misleading about the Brotherhood’s behavior, and her deep surveys of Muslim Brotherhood texts reveal that the movement’s intellectuals have been transparent about their long-term aspirations throughout. What Tadros calls us to do, then, is to take the Muslim Brotherhood seriously — to attend to what it leaders and intellectuals actually say. This book is thus an important corrective to both those who make the Brotherhood out to be more liberal than it is, and those who make it out to be secretive (and thus sinister) about its aims… Tadros has done [an extraordinary service] with this volume, which will be the standard English-language treatment of the Muslim Brotherhood’s contemporary political thought for years to come."- Tarek Masoud, Associate Professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; Middle East Journal Winter 2012.
"Tadros's professional background as a journalist for Al-Ahram during the later years of Hosni Mubarak’s rule, and as an Assistant Professor at the American University of Cairo, allows for an astute analysis that largely eschews the reductionism that often accompanies studies of Islamist movements in favour of an issue-based examination into this multifaceted, ever-evolving organisation… Tadros produces a highly readable, informative analysis" - Gerasimos Tsourapas; Polyvocia – The SOAS Journal of Graduate Research, Vol. 5 (2013)
Introduction 1. Egypt and the Brotherhood in a pressure cooker 2. From the Friday of Fury to the Shari‘a Friday 3. A civil state with an Islamic reference: an oxymoron? 4. Political pluralism with an Islamic reference 5. The Copts and the Brothers from El Banna to Bad‘i 6. Islamic citizenship and its qualifiers 7. The Sisters of the Brotherhood and the woman question 8. The Gender Agenda: Reformed or Reframed? Conclusions
Mariz Tadros is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. She spent three years as an Assistant Professor at the American University of Cairo, has worked as a consultant for both local and international NGOs, and was a journalist for Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper for almost ten years, covering human rights, women's rights, civil society organizations and activism, poverty and a plethora of development-related topics.