Egypt: The Future of the Muslim Brotherhood

Eric Trager writes on the role of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the political transition of Egypt.  Trager argues that “The Brotherhood is Egypt’s most cohesive political movement, with an unparalleled ability to mobilize its followers, who will serve it extremely well in a country still unaccustomed to voting.”  From January through March this year, Trager interviewed about 30 current and former Brotherhood members in an effort to examine its organizational structure and the nature of its membership. ” This intricate system for recruitment and internal promotion produces members who are strongly committed to the organization’s purpose, enabling its leaders it to mobilize its followers as they see fit,” Trager says and it’s this system that allows the Brotherhood to bold a single political party: the Freedom and Justice Party, which will win “significantly increased electoral power, if not an outright plurality of the vote, it will use its enhanced position to move Egypt in a decidedly theocratic, anti-Western direction.”

Additionally, James Kirchick interviewed Brotherhood leader Essam el-Erian in Cairo to discuss the post-Mubarak era, Shari’a law and why Erian wants fundamental reforms throughout the Arab world.  When asked whether Egypt would become an Islamic state, Erian said, “It is a religious country with [a] tolerant attitude, with reconciliation, a moderate aspect of religion. It is not [a] clerical regime or something like that.”  Additionally, Erian said the Brotherhood welcomes dialogue with the United States if “it can depend on dual respect and dual interests.”