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Egyptian revolution, Part 2: Now, to build a nation

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By the end, the Salafi member has lost his audience. Passengers go back to debating parties and political figures. His pitch becomes subsumed in the democratic din, like the clack of the train wheels below.

If Egypt seems unlikely to put many Muslim extremists in power, this is not to say that more moderate Islamic groups won't have a significant voice in the new government. The Muslim Brotherhood and similar religious groups enjoy broad support. The Brothers, banned but semi-tolerated under Mubarak, have built a network of mosques, charity health clinics, and social services across the country. They're well financed by the membership.

A June survey by Gallup, the American polling firm, found the Muslim Brotherhood to be the most popular political group in the country, with 15 percent backing. (Brotherhood candidates are running under the banner of the newly formed Freedom and Justice Party.)

Yet none of this means the group will dominate at the ballot box. For one thing, more than 50 political parties are now fielding candidates. Egyptians, many of whom clearly embrace Islam, also seem to prefer at least some separation of politics and piety. In the same Gallup poll, 69 percent of Egyptians said that they wanted religious leaders to "advise those in authority," but only 14 percent supported them actually writing the laws.

And even the Brotherhood has been dealing with dissent and disagreement within its ranks. Aboul Fotouh, for instance, broke with the group over its insistence – wary of frightening Egypt's current military rulers and secularists in the electorate – that it wouldn't run a candidate for president, only ones for parliament. Aboul Fotouh also favors a less overtly Islamist approach to politics than many in the Brotherhood. He wants people to live more Islamic lives but suggests they accomplish that through outreach, not legislation.

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