View Full Version : Trends in Egyptian Salafi Activism

12-11-2007, 01:24 PM
CTC, 10 Dec 07: Trends in Egyptian Salafi Activism (http://www.ctc.usma.edu/publications/pdf/Egyptian-Salafi-Activism.pdf)

This report will explore the status of radical Islamic ideology and its popularity among Egyptians in Cairo today. It stems in part from an October 2007 research trip to gain insights into Salafi-jihadi activism and the political, social and religious climate that either supports or inhibits its growth. That climate in Cairo—gauged by recent public opinion polls, my interviews and observations, and trends among Salafis in Egypt today—does not seem to bode favorably for militant Islamist activism. The city is not a center for this ideology or its movement, partly due to recent economic success, belief in democratic principles and Egyptian Muslims' rejection of violent tactics.

Egypt served as the wellspring for modern Islamism and has had more than a century of evolving Salafi thought and activism. Certainly, foreign-born Muslims and Egyptians alike are well aware of this country’s—and especially Cairo’s—unique place in contemporary Muslim thought. It has produced some of the most influential Islamist thinkers and organizers of recent history—Muhammad ‘Abduh, Rashid Rida, Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb—who collectively dealt with issues of Islamic reform and revivalism, modeled on Salafi ideals. In recent decades, it has also produced or trained leading jihadi figures such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, ‘Abdullah ‘Azzam, and ‘Umar ‘Abd al-Rahman. Today, however, the Islamist movement, greatly weakened by crackdowns in the late 1990s, does not pose the same threat it once did to the Egyptian state....
Complete 18 page paper at the link.

Rex Brynen
12-11-2007, 03:35 PM
A doctoral student of mine, Omar Ashour, is doing excellent work on the deradicalization of Egyptian jihadist groups. I don't have a link that I can post of his most recent piece, but the citation is:

Omar Ashour, "Lions tamed? An inquiry into the causes of de-radicalization of armed Islamist movements: the case of the Egyptian Islamic Group," Middle East Journal 61.4 (Autumn 2007).

Omar's work received the 2006 Weller Prize from the Canadian Association of Security and Intelligence Studies for the best graduate student paper of the year, and he was runner up in 2007. :)

12-11-2007, 11:21 PM
One distinction I think is important is that the radical Islamists have been weakened by Mubarak's repression. The social Islamists, like Muslim Brotherhood are still growing, because their focus is on social reform and providing social services at a micro level.

I don't think the US truly knows yet what to make of these moderate Islamists. The truly secular moderates in the Muslim world are in serious decline, at least with respect to their public perception, and the social Islamists are somewhere in between "enemy" and "friend" in regards to the way the United States perceives the Middle East. . .

In the long run, I think it is the moderate Islamists who will prevail, because the jihadists/radicals rely on the post impoverished, least educated individuals within the Arab societies. Any social or economic progress benefits the more moderate Islamists.


01-23-2008, 01:38 PM
CEIP, 22 Jan 08: The Draft Party Platform of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood: Foray Into Political Integration or Retreat Into Old Positions? (http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/cp89_muslim_brothers_final.pdf)

In this paper, we seek to answer four questions concerning the Brotherhood’s party platform:

1. What are the specific controversies and divisions generated by the platform?

2. Why and how has the platform proved so divisive?

3. Given the divisions it caused as well as the inauspicious political environment, why was a platform drafted at this time?

4. How will these controversies likely be resolved?

We also offer some observations about the Brotherhood’s experience with drafting a party platform and demonstrate how its goals have only been partly met. Ultimately, the integration of the Muslim Brotherhood as a normal political actor will depend not only on the movement’s words but also on the deeds of a regime that seems increasingly hostile to the Brotherhood’s political role.....
Complete 32 page paper at the link.