Who Are the Moderates in Egypt?

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Who Are the Moderates in Egypt?

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abr. 13, 2012, 4:46pm

The Arabist has an interesting post regarding an article written for an English-language newspaper in Egypt that deals with the question of the rivalry between the Muslim Brothers and the salafists in Egypt.

It's generally believed that the Brothers are more religiously moderate and flexible than the salafists, but there is apparently an argument to be made that the reverse is actually true. One way to think about salafists is to equate them with Christian fundamentalist literalists, who claim to be trying to live their lives in accordance with Jesus's teachings. Unfortunately, however, Christian fundamentalists rarely live their lives the way Jesus advocated in the Gospels. They tend to be much more severe in their practices and much less accepting of others' beliefs than Jesus ever was. I also tend to think that salafists are much less tolerant of others than Muhammad ever was, which is the person whom they claim to be trying to live like.

But, from a practical political sense, salafists are probably more flexible than the Brothers, only if because the Brothers have an extremely rigid hierarchical structure within which everything is decided by a virtual Politburo. Salafists have the space to be flexible, but that doesn't necessarily mean that their flexibility (1) will tend toward moderation or (2) if it does, will be genuinely moderate. So, the issue isn't really about who is more flexible, but is instead about who is more moderate--that is, who is more likely to implement political policies that allow or even encourage Muslims to accept and live in peace with Christian and Jewish neighbors, both within Egypt and in the wider Middle Eastern region.

My hunch is that that is still the Brothers and not the salafists. Mainline Christian conservatives tend to be much more likely to have a live-and-let-live mentality than Christian fundamentalists do. I imagine the same applies to the Brothers-salafists dichotomy as well.

abr. 20, 2012, 1:34pm

And speaking of the Muslim Brothers, H. A. Hellyer has an interesting article at HuffPost on the effect that no longer having opposition to Mubarak to rally around coupled with the establishment of the Freedom & Justice Party might be having on the Brothers as an organization.

We might be seeing the beginning of the splintering of the Brothers as an organized political force because the pressure exerted by Mubarak's security forces is no longer there and the governing council of the Brothers has tried to force out any party members who do not tow the line on its political program.