Political Exclusion and Violence: The Islamist Movement in Egypt   [open pdf - 862KB]

"Since the early 20th century, persons across the Muslim world have attempted to move their society toward a more religious Islamic path. They have attempted to form political parties and participate in elections, only to be marginalized and repressed. Some have reacted violently, carrying out attacks against government officials and other targets. Typically a cycle of violence, repression and political exclusion transpires. Democratic reform is not uncomplicated. Both practical considerations and moral ones demand changes in the policies of both the United States and Egypt. The Egyptian governments electoral engineering and interference does not go unnoticed by the world and undermines the legitimacy of the government to its own citizens and the world community alike. Co-opting moderate Islamists may seem threatening to President Mubarak as well as to Western countries, whose public continues to embrace Orientalist ideas. This study maintains that when moderate Islamists are allowed to participate in politics, they will restrain their stances regarding strict interpretations of Islam, as have the New Islamists in Egypt. The alternative is the status quo, which aside from being immoral in terms of personal liberty is also not workable for those desiring stability in the Middle East."

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