What Islamists Need to Be Clear About: The Case of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood

Publication Date: February 2007

Publisher: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Author(s): Amr Hamzawy; Marina Ottaway; Nathan Brown

Research Area: Politics

Type: Brief

Coverage: Egypt


In March 2006, Carnegie senior associates Amr Hamzawy, Marina Ottaway, and Nathan Brown explored the ambiguous position of moderate Islamist movements on crucial political issues--what the authors referred to as "gray zones". The paper elicited many responses, positive and negative, by representatives of Islamist movements.

In this Carnegie Policy Outlook, What Islamists Need to be Clear About: The Case of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamzawy, Ottaway, and Brown respond to the reactions and critiques by Islamists and seek to explain the issues on which Islamist movements need to achieve greater clarity in order to gain credibility in the West. Using the case of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the authors address Western concerns over the Islamist political vision and provide new analysis into the complexity of the Brotherhood's position on key issues such as Sharia law, religious identity, organization and leadership, universal citizenship, and women's rights.

"We believe that this attempt to explain Western views of a problem to an audience in the Middle East typifies the Carnegie Endowment's New Vision of what a twenty-first century think tank should do, namely not only provide policy makers and analysts with information and insights about other regions of the world, but also provide policy makers and analysts in other parts of the world with a better understanding of the United States and the West," said the authors.