Assessing Muslim Brotherhood Rule in Egypt

Published: June 01, 2014

front-cover-9090Al-Mesbar‘s 90th monthly book examines the Muslim Brotherhood’s brief rule in Egypt , tracing the political and economic missteps committed by its leadership which nearly led the country to collapse within a time span of less than one year. The book also identifies the government’s efforts to establish monopoly control over several government institutions and facilities (a process commonly referred to in Egypt as “Akhwana”, or “Brotherhoodization). Finally, the studies present analysis of foreign policy missteps during this period.

Samih Eid, formerly a senior Brotherhood figure in Egypt, opens the book with his study,: “The Muslim Brotherhood: Empowerment , Between Theory and Practice.” The author delves into the language of power, as well as the discourse of power in the Qur’an. According to Eid, Brotherhood founder Hassan Al-Banna  spoke of himself as if he were a prophet chosen by God to navigate the yet-uncharted path of Islam which Muhammad  and his followers — and their followers — did not complete. Banna, Eid writes, believed he had the right to control the world politically and militarily as God’s new Caliph.  The author shows how Banna evaluated the political and social environment surrounding him and built a suitable cadre of agents for change. He then explains the Brotherhood’s numerous attempts to influence and infiltrate state institutions as the movement gradually became a leading political force in Egypt.

Egyptian scholar Ahmed Ban  contributes the study “The Muslim Brotherhood: Assassinating the Dream of the Caliphate.” It traces the principal reasons behind the fall of the Brotherhood: excluding other political forces from power, subjecting all decisions to the president’s whims, and a pattern of hesitation and vacillation on the part of the president himself. The author, also a former Brotherhood member, questions  whether the Brotherhood even had a clear political agenda besides using religion as a means to  control the country.

In his paper, “Egyptian Media During the Brotherhood Period,” Egyptian  scholar  Muhammad Shuman  investigates the widely held belief that increased restrictions on journalism and media under the Brotherhood exacerbated tensions between the movement and the media, and created a cycle of “vengeance” between the two parties.

Anwar Al-Naqib, professor of economics at Al-Sadat Academy , offers an assessment of Egypt’s economic performance during the period between June 30th and July 3rd, 2013. The study, “Egypt’s Economy During the Brotherhood Era” focuses on the underlying economic philosophy and vision of the movement, attempts to implement it, and outcomes.

In a study titled, “Foreign Policy of the Brotherhood: Escalation and Retreat”, Egyptian scholar Saniya Al-Bahat  sheds light on foreign policy during the period when Brotherhood stalwart Muhammad Morsi served as president, detailing how the approach adopted by the Muslim Brotherhood raised tensions in neighboring countries.

Wisam Al-Hanbaly  discusses the role of social and alternative media (Twitter, Facebook, web sites, blogs) during Morsi’s rule. In her study, “New Media in Muhammad Morsi’s Reign”. The study offers insights as to how cyberspace served as a social platform to criticize Morsi, and played a vital role in toppling his regime.

Munir Adib, an Egyptian scholar specializing in Islamic affairs , contributes the chapter titled ”The Brotherhood and the Islamists: Mutual Interests or Existential Struggle?”. The author highlights conflicts between the Brotherhood, Salafis,and jihadists, dividing the nature of the relationships into four phases: pre-revolution, post-revolution, Muhammad Morsi’s reign, and  post-toppling of Mohammed Morsi.

In this edition’s books section, Egyptian scholar Mahmoud Sha’aban reviews The Muslim Brotherhood: Between its Rise to power, the Presidency, and the Loss of Legitimacy, by former Brotherhood leader Muhammad Habib. The book focuses on the Brotherhood’s failure to take advantage of its golden opportunity to govern, and the reasons behind its lack of political maturity.

The Center would like to extend its gratitude to all the contributors who made this book possible, especially Mohammed Hilmi Abd-Alwahab and Omar Al-Bashir Al- Turabi, who coordinated and oversaw its production.