Foreign Policy Blogs

The ICG Report on Egypt's Muslim Brothers

In June of this year, the International Crisis Group published a report titled, "Egypt's Muslim Brothers: Confrontation or Integration?" , particularly looking at confrontation in the context of long-term stability. In the world of politics and religion, the question always seems to come back to "confrontation" and whether domestic politics can tolerate the religious foundations of certain forms of opposition, and on the flip side, whether the world community can tolerate local community politics , in contexts where objectionable religion opposition is not confronted. The main aim of the ICG report is to explain how the role of the Muslim Brothers (the largest opposition) in Egypt's politics is formally restricted but that the ban has done "nothing to reduce its legitimacy or deal with its longer-term political role." The report has two sets of recommendations, one set for the Government of Egypt and the other for the Society of Muslim Brothers. With respect to the role of religion, the recommendations are particularly fascinating. To the Government of Egypt, the ICG says there should be a regularization of the participation of the Muslim Brothers in political life. This would require revising Article 5 of the constitution to "set guidelines for the establishment of a political party with religious reference." The laws should also be revised so that new parties with "a religious reference" can be created. To the Muslim Brothers, the ICG says that they should engage with "secular opposition parties and movements to form a consensus on how the Society can best be integrated," and also that representatives of the Christian community should be included "in a frank dialogue on sectarian relations."  The ICG also calls on the Muslim Brothers to clarify (or alter?) their stance on women and religious minorities in public life and particularly the political sphere.



Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;