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The Demise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab World?

 
Filed under: Muslim Brotherhood, The Middle East
Publication: Jewish Political Studies Review

Jewish Political Studies Review
Volume 31, Numbers 1-2

In its almost one century of existence, the Muslim Brotherhood (Al-Ikhwan al-Muslimeen) is arguably the world’s oldest and most successful Islamist organization.1 It was established in the Egyptian city of Ismailia in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna in the aftermath of the fall of the Ottoman caliphate.2 Al-Banna was convinced that Muslim backwardness and subsequent subjugation to colonial powers was the result of the ummah3 straying from the strictures of their faith, and he championed the revival of Islamic religious values,4 seeking to create a virtuous society based on Islamic law (shari’a). He envisaged this Islamist project as developing incrementally from the Muslim individual, family, society, government, state, caliphate, nation, and finally ummah.5 Hence the Muslim Brotherhood at its inception had a global vision. The global nature of the Brotherhood’s project was encapsulated by Al-Banna when he stated: “It is the nature of Islam to dominate and not to be dominated, to impose its laws on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”6 The one significant difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist reformers was its ability to engage in grassroots activism, providing health facilities, distributing food, and dispensing money to people to start a small business or get married.7 Such grassroots activism and welfare activities helped to transfer citizen’s loyalty from an often uncaring, if not predatory state to the Muslim Brotherhood. Small wonder, then, that they are active in more than 70 countries.8

Any effort to understand the Muslim Brotherhood must begin by viewing the movement within the broader context of Islamism. Political Islam or Islamism has been described by Zeynep Kuru and Ahmet Kuru as

an ideology that emerged in the twentieth century in reaction to colonialism and modernization. Political Islamism aims to create an “Islamic state” ruled according to the Shari’a. Although political Islamist movements can be characterized as part of the Islamic religious resurgence, these movements are primarily political. Political Islamists regard the foundation of the Islamic state as the sine qua non for the attainment of a complete Muslim life. The key ideological components of the political Islamists’ programme are: taking the Quran as the source of political, legal and social systems; and claiming to return to the example of the Prophet Muhammed.9

While agreeing on these core aspects, Islamists are divided into three major factions, according to Quinton Wiktorowicz,10 on account of their differences on tactics to be adopted. Purists focus on nonviolent methods of daw’ah (propagation) and education to connect more people to the Islamist ideal. At the same time, they shun political participation, viewing it as deviant. The 80-million-strong Tableegh Jamaat is one such purist organization.  The second group, politicos, seek to participate in the political arena and believe it is the route to bring about social justice and to legislate good behavior and sanction bad behavior. Following the overthrow of the Mubarak regime in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood established the Freedom and Justice Party to contest the subsequent poll. Purists and politicos view the process of Islamizing society as evolutionary. The final group consists of the jihadists, who adopt a more revolutionary approach in the belief that the current status quo can be toppled through violence.11 Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are prominent examples of this group.

In practice, these demarcations between the groups tend to be fluid. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, ostensibly a politico organization, had an armed wing in the 1930s and 1940s – the Special Apparatus. Following a harsh government crackdown, they chose a political path.12 In 2014, however, the Egyptian government reported that the Muslim Brotherhood had reactivated its armed wing, killing five policemen in one attack.13 In 2017, two violent Brotherhood-affiliated groups – the Hasm Movement and Liwa al-Thawra – were involved in a spate of terror attacks across Egypt.14 The Muslim Brotherhood through its daw’ah and charitable work also could be viewed as purists. In traversing all three of Wiktorowicz’s typologies, the Muslim Brotherhood defies such rigid compartmentalization.  As such, it needs to be approached holistically.  

For a time it seemed that the Muslim Brotherhood and its various offshoots were making progress in capturing the state. In Sudan, the National Islamic Front (NIF), which developed as the Sudanese branch of the Brotherhood, enjoyed years in power thanks to their close alliance with the military following the 1969 and 1989 coups, which brought Generals Nimeiri and Omar al-Bashir to power. NIF’s leader, Hassan al-Turabi, sought to create an Islamist nirvana in Sudan.15 In 2006, Hamas, which developed from the military wing of the Gaza branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, won the Palestinian legislative elections. Following the overthrow of the ancien régime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, another Muslim Brotherhood offshoot – Ennahdah – won the October 2011 Constituent Assembly elections.16 In similar fashion, the overthrow of Mubarak’s decrepit rule was followed by electoral victory for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.17 When Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was sworn in as president of Egypt on June 30, 2012, it must have seemed like the fulfillment of Al-Banna’s vision for the Brotherhood.18 Indeed, in the immediate aftermath of the Arab Spring, it appeared as if the Brotherhood’s patience was being rewarded with their political ascendancy all over the region.

Are We Witnessing the Demise of the Muslim Brotherhood?

In recent months, some analysts have been writing the political obituary of the Muslim Brotherhood. Four factors account for this: governance failures, tensions within the Muslim Brotherhood, repression on the part of the state, and shifting values in the Arab world.

Governance Failures on the Part of the Islamists

A large part of the existential crisis currently engulfing the organization lies in its failure to govern and in doing so to improve the lot of the ordinary citizen. While catchy slogans like “Islam is the solution” were fine for mass protests against the Mubarak regime in Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring, such slogans proved entirely inadequate when translated into policy.

In Sudan, Hassan al-Turabi’s National Islamic Front (NIF) has its origins in the 1954 establishment of the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood Organization. Deeply committed to Al-Banna’s ideology, it sought to Islamize all aspects of Sudanese political and social life. In an effort to take the reins of power, these Islamists made common cause with ambitious military generals and twice came to power through coups – first with General Nimeiri in 1969 and second with General Bashir in 1989. In both cases the NIF entrenched itself in the political and economic spheres. Al-Turabi, for instance, became attorney-general while senior figures of his NIF assumed roles in banking and in the textile sector.19  Although the NIF preached about democracy, they allied themselves with a military junta which undermined the political freedom of every Sudanese citizen. As they were preaching about social justice, Sudan’s Islamists were enriching themselves while economic opportunities for ordinary citizens were diminishing. This hypocrisy hardly endeared the NIF to ordinary Sudanese.20 The enforcement of shari’a deepened the cleavage between the NIF and ordinary Sudanese, who were more Sufi- than Salafioriented. During the 2019 mass protests calling for a return to civilian rule, Islamists once again supported the kleptocratic military junta that was in power.21 Strikingly, toward the end of his life, Al-Turabi decried the violent turn in Islamism and stated: “They want to hit, to struggle and destroy – but they do not know how to build anything.”22 Unfortunately, this is one of the hallmarks of Islamists everywhere;  they define themselves by what they are against as opposed to what they are for.

This is perhaps no truer than when observing the nature of governance under Hamas in the Gaza Strip. With Hamas’ ascent to political power there, all liberal democratic aspirations Gazans may have held evaporated. Hamas sought to use its military superiority to achieve sole control over the territory. In practice, this meant that much of the strained budget of an economy under siege went to various security formations. Indeed, of the 40,000 public-sector workers, 15,000 were in the security sector.23 In addition, Hamas ensured that its own members occupied key positions in all the ministries, from agriculture to finance. In the process, senior bureaucrats were appointed on the basis of party loyalty as opposed to necessary skill sets to run a modern polity. Further exacerbating the plight of ordinary Gazans, the various internal rivalries besetting Hamas resulted in the fragmentation of governance.24 In striving to control the fissures within the group, Hamas regularly seeks violent confrontation with Israel. Hatred of Israel, then, constitutes the only unifying platform on which the different factions find common cause. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder that ordinary Gazans have grown disillusioned with Hamas.

With the hubris of first coming to power, Ennahdah in Tunisia initially seemed to be more concerned with ensuring full control over the repressive state apparatus than with reshaping these Ben Ali institutions to make them more responsive and accountable to citizens. Moreover, two prominent secular politicians – Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi – were killed.25 Members of Ennahdah seemed to be mainly concerned with Islamizing Tunisian society.26 Faced with a popular backlash,27 Ennahdah quickly backtracked and reached out to the political opposition as well as to civil society groupings in an effort to rule more inclusively. Despite its majority in the Constituent Assembly, Ennahdah joined with secular parties to forge a coalition government to advance the common good. Moreover, Ennahdah did not insist that the source of Tunisian law be Islam.28 This was a clear repudiation of the Islamist narrative regarding God’s sovereignty. Ennahdah’s position affirmed the position of democrats everywhere – that in a democracy, the people are sovereign. Such a position was also in keeping with the principle of freedom of religion, which Ennahdah also championed.

The leader of Ennahdah, Rachid Ghannouchi, reinvented it as a party of “Muslim Democrats” similar to Christian Democratic parties in Europe. As such, he split the party in two: the formal political party and the other part that focused on proselytizing. This split was also reinforced when Ennahdah enacted new rules for party members; its politicians were forbidden from speaking in mosques and its clerics were not allowed to lead the party. While these seismic changes rankled more conservative Ennahdah members, Ghannouchi passionately argued that the “presence of religion in society is not something that is decided or set by the state. It should be a bottom-up phenomenon and, with an elected parliament, to the extent that religion is represented in society, then it is also represented in the state.”29 In a nutshell, then, Ghannouchi had to reinvent his party in a direction that led away from its Islamist origins and toward the moderate middle of Tunisian politics and society. Sadly, this was a lesson Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood failed to learn.

It is perhaps in the land of its birth that the Muslim Brotherhood recorded its worst governance attempt. Despite his presidency beginning with much euphoria, the honeymoon between Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood soon ended. Their authoritarian nature was too deeply embedded in their DNA. Far from attempting to reach out to the 48 percent of the electorate who did not vote for him, Morsi behaved as if he was accountable only to the Brotherhood.30 He also seemed to have forgotten that the 52 percent of the electorate who had voted for him also included many liberals who did not wish to vote for the other candidate – a former Mubarak-era prime minister. More specifically, the government did not attempt to include any of the secular or youth leaders who had sparked the 2011 anti-Mubarak uprisings.31 Worse, under Morsi, the distinction between party and government became blurred with many key decisions being taken in the office of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide.32 For instance, the Counter Extremism Project notes that every word written or said by Morsi had to be approved by Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat el-Shater.33  

Given the polarized nature of Egyptian politics, it would have been politically astute for Morsi to reach out to the political opposition. The inclusion of secular figures would have undermined the charges of Islamism directed at this administration, and the inclusion of youthful leaders, given Egypt’s youthful demographic, would have co-opted leaders with proven constituencies who went on to mobilize against Morsi. Instead he sought to ensure that almost every key position was filled by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. One of his more controversial appointments was the choice on June 16, 2013, of a member of the Islamic Group for the position of governor of Luxor. In 1997 this individual had taken part in a massacre of Coptic Christians, police, and 58 foreign tourists in Luxor.34 To say that his appointment was insensitive to the citizens of Luxor would be an understatement.

This was not the only poor appointment that Morsi made. Following his inauguration as president in July 2012, the defense minister was dismissed and the entire security apparatus was overhauled. Personnel at most ministries and public-sector companies were pushed out while their replacements came from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood itself. Not only did this represent a loss in terms of institutional memory as these senior civil servants exited, but their replacements often lacked the technical skill sets to run the country. Tarek Osman tells the story of how a young Muslim Brotherhood member resigned his post in the customer-service department of a mobile telecoms operator after his promotion to the cabinet’s economic committee!35 This naturally undermined the capability of the Egyptian state and enraged ordinary citizens as services were rendered poorly, intermittently, or not at all.

At every step the Muslim Brotherhood’s authoritarian impulse was self-evident. Morsi’s attempt to undermine the independence of the courts, the media, a neutral civil service, the army, and the police was deeply resented. His attempt to legislate through a Senate which only represented 10 percent of the voters was widely condemned.36 His decree to place himself above the judiciary repulsed many while the Brotherhood’s decision to adopt a new constitution without consensus alienated ever more Egyptians.37 Far from aligning himself and his party with liberals in parliament, Morsi aligned with Salafists and pushed through a constitution with increasingly theocratic underpinnings. The 2012 constitution, for instance, included Article 219, which identified shari’a as the source of legislation.38 Another article committed the state to “overseeing…the protection of the country’s moral values.”39 Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, by their actions, lent credence to the notion that the Islamist commitment to democracy is “one man, one vote, one time.”40 Recently declassified CIA documents also demonstrate that the Morsi government was lurching toward an overtly Islamic-fundamentalist state.41

Worse still was the general incompetence of the Muslim Brotherhood during their year in power from 2012 to 2013. Foreign exchange reserves and the Egyptian currency both plummeted, while inflation spiraled upward. Youth unemployment passed a staggering 40 percent under Morsi’s watch, while electricity blackouts and gas shortages became the norm. The country’s foreign reserves declined calamitously by two-thirds – from U.S. $36 billion in 2011 to U.S. $12 billion.42 Meanwhile crime soared, with the murder rate having tripled since the revolution. It was, however, not only urban dwellers who suffered under the incompetence of the Muslim Brotherhood. Farmers, too, were not being paid for the wheat that they produced.43 Religious minorities also expressed great unease under Brotherhood rule. When armed thugs attacked Coptic Christians and Shia Muslims, Morsi remained silent.44

Faced with mounting criticism and public protest, Morsi remained defiant. In November 2012 the then chief of Egypt’s armed forces, General Abdul Fattah el-Sisi,  attempted to break the impasse between the Muslim Brotherhood and the political opposition as well as various civil society formations by inviting Morsi to a lunch together with other political and civil society leaders. Morsi, however, spurned the invitation very publicly, earning him the ire of the military.45 Under the circumstances, the youth mobilized under the banner of the Tamarod (meaning “rebellion”) movement, launching a signature campaign calling on Morsi to step down. By June 29, 2013, 22 million signatures had been collected. Faced with Morsi’s continued defiance, people once more took to the streets; this time 14 million Egyptians called on Morsi to resign.46 At the time of the coup, the Egyptian public had grown disillusioned with his government and was firmly on the side of the army.47

Once the military had regained control over the political apparatus of the state, a crackdown on all members and affiliated organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood began. In April 2018, General Sisi sanitized his rule with a rigged election in which he attained an improbable 97 percent of the vote and, in the tradition of former Air Force General Hosni Mubarak, now called himself president.48

What could account for the disastrous reign of the Islamists once they were in power? For some, the answer lies in Islam itself. Islamists, they argue, run into problems because only about 1 percent of Islam is actually about politics.49 Given the paucity of the Islamist intellectual project, they turn to virtue. Leaders are chosen on the basis of their virtue (meaning their piety); the state exists to incubate virtuous Muslims. The French social scientist Olivier Roy is scathing in this regard: “There is no true Islamist political thought, because Islamism rejects political philosophy and the human sciences as such. The magical appeal to virtue masks the impossibility of defining the Islamist political programme in terms of the social reality.50 Indeed, while Islamists spend much of their energy on gaining political power, they have not reflected on the nature of political institutions and how they are supposed to function. Similarly, while the emir or leader occupies a central place in the Islamist polity, there is little thought on how he is to be selected (other than on the basis of piety), what mandate he has, whether he has term limits, mechanisms of accountability, and so forth. It should be noted that while the Koran is quite clear on certain issues such as inheritance, what to eat, and so forth, it is quite ambiguous on issues of governance. In one verse, the Prophet Muhammad is informed that he must consult with members of a community on a particular matter; but in another verse he is given absolute power over them so that consultation is unnecessary.51 Should we then be surprised at the incompetence displayed by Islamists once in power?

Tensions within the Muslim Brotherhood

Third, there are vast divisions plaguing the organization – national vs. internationalist, generational, and tensions over tactics resulting in the organization conveying mixed signals not only to outsiders but also to its own base. Far from being a homogeneous entity, the Muslim Brotherhood despite its global aspirations and international footprint remains a patchwork of diverse national groups with a plethora of national goals while paying rhetorical lip service to the cause of a renewed global caliphate.52 Despite the existence of an international coordinating mechanism – the International Organization – this hardly constitutes the equivalent of a Comintern. During the 1980s, when Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood attempted to dictate the actions of its national affiliations – protest followed. Sudan’s Hassan al-Turabi rebuked the actions of the parent body by stating: “You cannot run the world from Cairo.”53 These tensions were also evident in 1990 when the International Organization remained silent in the face of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. The Muslim Brotherhood in Kuwait protested at this silence and immediately withdrew from the international organization. While many in the Muslim Brotherhood hold anti-American attitudes, Kuwait’s Muslim Brotherhood is decidedly pro-American given Washington’s role in rolling back Saddam Hussein’s tanks from Kuwait City. In Yemen, meanwhile, the local Brotherhood offshoot has made common cause with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have done much to undermine Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood as they seek to roll back Iranian-backed Houthis.54 These national tensions are ironic because Al-Banna formed the Brotherhood four years after the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate with a pan-Islamic vision, recognizing only one ummah and rejecting any Western-style nation-state.55

There are also intergenerational tensions that the Muslim Brotherhood has failed to breach. While the older generation seeks to overthrow Sisi peacefully through an alliance with other secular and nationalist parties, the younger generation has increasingly embraced jihadist ideologies and has sought to topple the current incumbent through violence.56 Whereas the older generation seeks to gradually Islamize society, the younger generation wants to do so through revolutionary means. These tensions were already apparent in February 2014 during the Brotherhood’s internal elections, when 65 percent of the old guard were replaced by a younger generation. While the old guard recognizes Mahmoud Ezzat as Supreme Guide, the younger generation first put their faith in Mohamed Taha Wahdan, who ran the Brotherhood’s Crisis Management Committee which exerted de facto control over events on the ground. Following his arrest in 2015, these young Turks have coalesced around Ahmed Abel Rahman, who has established the Office for Egyptians Abroad while in exile in Turkey.57 After Morsi’s ouster and subsequent state repression, many Brothers sought the refuge of exile largely in Turkey and Qatar. This has contributed to further organizational tensions between those in exile and those who continue to lead a furtive existence within Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s ambiguous position on a variety of issues as they seek to draw support from different constituencies has also resulted in their suffering from a trust deficit. While the Muslim Brotherhood ostensibly rejects violence, their violent behavior throughout their history contradicts that position. In 1948 members of the Muslim Brotherhood were implicated in the murder of the Egyptian prime minister and the government reacted by dissolving the Brotherhood. A few years later, a member of the Brotherhood’s Special Apparatus attempted to assassinate Egyptian strongman Nasser. One of its chief ideologues in the 1960s, Sayyid Qutb, whom the Brothers continue to lionize, was one of the chief proponents of jihad and regarded apostates and nonbelievers as legitimate targets for it.58 Lawrence Wright, in his fascinating account of the origins of Al Qaeda, draws a clear line from the jihadist ideology espoused by Sayyid Qutb and Al Qaeda’s creed.59

While stating that they are nonviolent, the Muslim Brotherhood also recognizes the need for a “defensive jihad” when one’s territory is occupied by a foreign power. Thus, from the Brotherhood’s perspective violence against Israel as an occupying power is justified. At the same time, the Brotherhood rejects the charge that they are anti-Semitic. Muhammad Mahdi Akef, the former Egyptian General Guide, states that there was no enmity between the Muslim Brotherhood and Jews, only between the Brotherhood and Zionists. Zionists, according to Akef, were not Jews. Even if one were to accept this dubious distinction between Jews and Zionists, the literature emanating from the Muslim Brotherhood expresses a visceral loathing toward Jews, not just Zionists.60 Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the spiritual leader of the Brotherhood, wrote: “There is no dialogue between them [the Jews] and us, other than in one language – the language of the sword and force.”61

State Repression

Following Morsi’s ouster by the military under Sisi on July 3, 2013, the new government adopted severely repressive measures aimed at destroying the Muslim Brotherhood. Its two top leaders – Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie and Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat el- Shater – are imprisoned.62 Thousands were killed, thousands more were incarcerated, while others fled to neighboring countries.  Small wonder, then, that when a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood was asked about the state of his organization’s membership, he tersely replied: “Dead, dying or detained.”63

While state repression has served to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood as an organization, it is also clear that Sisi is making use of the Islamist threat to crack down on all opposition – secular and Islamist – and that he also aims to crack down on an independent media. In June 2015, for instance, Ziad al-Uleima, a founding member of the Social Democratic Party, and seven other secular activists were arrested. Similarly, Hisham Fouad, a journalist and a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, was detained along with other journalists in what Amnesty International called “arbitrary arrests.”64 Such heavy-handed measures will not promote stability in this strife-ridden country.

Cognizant of the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has entrenched itself among the country’s poor, Cairo has gone after grassroots Islamic organizations that provide a social safety net. Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly said in January 2015: “Some political organizations have made use of poverty for political gains. We are trying to make sure that this doesn’t happen in future.”65 In January 2015, for instance, the Central Bank of Egypt froze the assets of the Islamic Medical Association, which operates 32 hospitals.66 The danger of such a clampdown on charities without the state stepping in to alleviate the suffering of its poorest citizens is widespread antipathy toward the Sisi administration.

This repression goes beyond Egypt itself. The Muslim Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist organization by Bahrain, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates.67 In an effort to isolate the organization further, Sisi has also lobbied the Trump administration to designate the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. He specifically asked President Trump to take this step during his visit to the White House on April 9, 2019.68 The effort to internationally isolate the Brotherhood emanates from the 250 million Egyptian pounds (U.S. $15 million) the Brotherhood is alleged to receive annually from its members in exile through financial transfers.69

State repression, however, is not confined to Egypt and not just directed at the Muslim Brotherhood. A recent Pew survey found that there has been a significant increase in religious restrictions in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Indeed, in 18 out of the 20 MENA countries there are restrictions on public preaching. Some governments even distribute recommended texts for sermons.70 While such heavy-handedness may well buy some short-term breathing space, it may also result in the delegitimization of those preachers regarded as close to government and, by extension, to moderate Islam generally, while merely forcing more radical ulema underground.

Shifting Values in the Arab World

The long-term prognosis for the Muslim Brotherhood does not look good because of values change in the Arab world as a result of processes of urbanization, modernization, and globalization facilitated by modern technology. Arab society, according to Malek Abduljaber after a thorough analysis of the latest evidence from the World Values Survey and Arab Barometer, is becoming more secular, liberal, and egalitarian in its values and moving away from religion, tradition, and ethnocentrism.71 In the process, Arab societies are getting more tolerant of the proverbial other – be it non-Muslims, Americans, other Westerners, or even the state of Israel. Indeed, support for recognizing Israel as a state has reached unprecedented levels. The latter fact could also be the result of escalating tensions between Sunnis and Shias in the region, relegating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the back burner. In light of these shifting values and attitudes, the Muslim Brotherhood’s attitudes on Israel and on the place of Islam in a polity look increasingly archaic.

Further research conducted by Ciftci, Wuthrich, and Shamaileh demonstrates that the relationship between Muslim religiosity and democratic support need not be negative.72 Religiously observant Muslims constitute those who espouse a more orthodox view, attempting to create a social order based on divine laws, as well as those who are more modernist in orientation and subscribe to religious pluralism and tolerance. Whereas the Muslim Brotherhood is more inclined toward the orthodox perspective, recent survey data suggests that more Muslims in the region are adopting the modernist orientation.

The Arab Youth Survey of 2019, which was conducted in 15 countries in the Persian Gulf, the Levant, and North Africa and included 3,300 face-to-face interviews, found that 18-to-24-year olds in the region were becoming more secular in their attitudes, blaming religion and sectarianism for the region’s various conflicts. Moreover, 66 percent believe that religion is playing too large a role in the Middle East, while half agree that the “Arab world’s religious values are holding the Arab world back.”73 Explaining this change in attitudes, Mohammad Shahrour of the University of Damascus observed that the region’s youth were confronted with a “deep intellectual dilemma when it came to reconciling conservative teachings with the world they inhabit.” In addition, he opines that access to the internet has “allowed them to keep pace with worldwide developments, opening their minds to virtually all cultures and civilizations.”74

Other polls such as those conducted by BBC News Arabic not only reinforce this trend but also point to the implications for Islamist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. The BBC’s polls involved 25,000 people from Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, the West Bank and Gaza, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen. The results demonstrated that trust in Islamist groups and organizations has fallen drastically across the MENA region. In Jordan and Morocco, trust in the Muslim Brotherhood had declined by 20 percent since 2012-2013; in Sudan, support for the Brotherhood had dropped further by 25 percent – from 49 percent to a mere 24 percent. Support for Ennahdah in Tunisia had also declined by 24 percent, while Palestinian support for Hamas had declined to 22 percent from 48 percent over the 2012-2019 period.75

The Macroquantitative Perspective: The Magnetic Resonance of Arab Political and Economic Values

In the following, we will analyze the openly available Arab Barometer data in the framework of the above analysis. The data of this large-scale survey of the Arab world are freely available.76 We have made the results of our multivariate analysis, based on the IBM SPSS Statistics Program Version 24,77 available in our Appendix, and not to overburden the presentation of the results, we concentrate here in the text only on the most salient aspects of this 28-variable analysis of the political and economic processes of the Arab world per 2016, the last year with full available survey data on the individual level, based on interviews with more than 14,000 representative respondents in 11 Arab countries and the West Bank and Gaza.

The debates about these Arab Barometer survey data were presented at length in recent literature, and interested specialists may consult it.78 Our findings continue the research making use of the Arab Barometer data.79 Valuable as these contributions may be, they miss for us several of the dimensions now integrated into our own multivariate model, based on promax factor analysis80 and the no less than 28 variables from the Arab Barometer project, including Arab opinion on the major powers in the region, including Israel. The critical analysis of the realities of the Muslim Brotherhood with its ideology of anti-Semitism and hatred, as explained in this article, is at the center of our macroquantitative analysis.

Table 1 lists the regional and country-wise support data for the Muslim Brotherhood per 2016.

Table 1: Trust in the Muslim Brotherhood, 2016 (Arab Barometer Survey)

I trust it to a great extent

I trust it to a medium extent

I trust it to a limited extent

I absolutely do not trust it

Don’t know

Refuse

N=

Total

Egypt

6%

13%

9%

69%

2%

1%

1196

100%

Libya

4%

9%

8%

65%

12%

1%

1247

100%

Lebanon

3%

15%

16%

63%

2%

1%

1200

100%

Tunisia

15%

19%

11%

47%

6%

1%

1199

100%

Total surveyed Arab countries

12%

23%

18%

41%

5%

1%

14809

100%

Yemen

15%

24%

21%

37%

3%

1%

1200

100%

Jordan

7%

27%

24%

36%

5%

0%

1795

100%

Morocco

16%

27%

17%

35%

4%

1%

1116

100%

Kuwait

16%

22%

21%

34%

7%

1%

1021

100%

West Bank and Gaza

20%

27%

15%

32%

6%

1%

1200

100%

Sudan

24%

25%

21%

26%

2%

1%

1200

100%

Algeria

13%

35%

20%

26%

6%

1%

1220

100%

Iraq

10%

32%

30%

21%

6%

1%

1215

100%

In the following we rapidly report on our factor analytical results, listed in detail in the Appendix. The standard version of promax factor analysis yielded the following factors, explaining more than 57 percent of the total variance of the 28 original Arab Barometer variables:

  1. Distrust
  2. Distance from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.
  3. Distance from Iran and Turkey
  4. Distance from Israel
  5. Islamism
  6. Secularism
  7. Support for democracy in the Arab world
  8. (Economic) shari’a

Our Appendix lists the original variables, the concrete meanings of the numerically highest values, the explained total variances by each factor, the factor loadings, the correlations between the factors, and the factor scores (country values of the factors).

Our Appendix data present factor loadings of each factor. Loadings > 0.500 usually are used to find a proper naming for a factor. Factor loadings express the strength of the relationship between the newly created mathematical dimensions and the original variables.

Images 1-8 depict the country values of the factor analytical results. The lack of trust is the overriding phenomenon in the Arab world today. This result is well compatible with advances in economic comparative value research.81 Our images are an up-to-date mapping, even magnetic resonance of Arab societies along the most important value parameters. Readers can immediately conclude the rankings of all surveyed Arab policies, and we let the data speak for themselves: “

Image 1: Distrust

Image 1: Distrust

Note: The images in this article had to use the conventions about the designation of commas available to Microsoft EXCEL users in Continental Europe. For example, 0,574 is 0.574.

Distrust

q201.1 No trust: the government (the cabinet)

0.807

q201.3 No trust: the elected council of representatives (the parliament)

0.777

q201.4 No trust: public security (the police)

0.758

q201.7 No trust: civil society institutions (associations, clubs, volunteer youth groups, etc.)

0.655

q201.13 No trust: religious leaders

0.637

q201.12 No trust: the Muslim Brotherhood

0.622

q201.6 No trust: the armed forces (the army)

0.593

Image 2: Distance from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

Image 2: Distance from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

Distance from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

q700a.2 Not prefer security relations with Saudi Arabia

0.724

q700a.1 Not prefer security relations with the United States

0.716

q700.2 Not prefer economic relations with Saudi Arabia

0.708

q700.1 Not prefer economic relations with the United States

0.685

q700a.4 Not prefer security relations with Turkey

0.567

q700.4 Not prefer economic relations with Turkey

0.493

Image 3: Distance from Iran and Turkey

Image 3: Distance from Iran and Turkey

Distance from Iran and Turkey

q700a.3 Not prefer security relations with Iran

0.766

q700.3 Not prefer economic relations with Iran

0.756

q700a.4 Not prefer security relations with Turkey

0.663

q700.4 Not prefer economic relations with Turkey

0.617

q700a.2 Not prefer security relations with Saudi Arabia

0.368

q700.2 Not prefer economic relations with Saudi Arabia

0.345

Image 4: Distance from Israel

Image 4: Distance from Israel

Distance from Israel

q700a.6 Not prefer security relations with Israel

0.800

q700.6 Not prefer economic relations with Israel

0.798

q700a.1 Not prefer security relations with the United States

0.416

q700.1 Not prefer economic relations with the United States

0.356

Image 5: Islamism

Image 5: Islamism

Islamism

q607.4 Gender-mixed education should not be allowed in universities.

0.657

q516. Disagree: a democratic system may have problems, yet it is better than other systems.

0.568

q605.2 The government and parliament should not enact laws in accordance with Islamic law.

-0.532

q608.7 Religious minorities have no right to practice their religion freely.

0.430

q201.12 No trust: the Muslim Brotherhood.

-0.363

Image 6: Secularism

Image 6: Secularism
Image 6: Secularism

Secularism

q610.1 No daily prayer

0.781

q610.6 No listening to or reading the Koran (or the Bible)?

0.765

q605.2  The government and parliament should not enact laws in accordance with Islamic law

0.398

Image 7: Support for democracy in the Arab world

Image 7: Support for democracy in the Arab world
Image 7: Support for democracy in the Arab world

Support for democracy in the Arab world

q607.2 In a Muslim country, non-Muslims should enjoy the same political rights as Muslims.

0.717

q607.1 Democracy is a system that does not contradict the teachings of Islam.

0.650

q607.3 Banks charging interest does not contradict the teachings of Islam.

0.429

q608.7 Religious minorities have no right to practice their religion freely.

-0.391

q605.2 The government and parliament should not enact laws in accordance with Islamic law.

0.366

Image 8: (Economic) Shari’a

Image 8: (Economic) Shari’a

(Economic) shari’a

q605.1 The government and parliament should not enact laws in accordance with the people’s wishes.

0,716

q607.3 Banks charging interest does not contradict the teachings of Islam.

-0,603

Image 9 shows the factor loadings for the variable: no trust in the Muslim brotherhood. All the factors relevant to a successful democratization of the Arab world (support for democracy in the Arab world, distance from Iran and Turkey, secularism, no support for shari’a law, and no Islamism) are positively related to the distrust of Arab publics toward the Muslim Brotherhood.

Image 9: No trust in the Muslim Brotherhood

Image 9: No trust in the Muslim Brotherhood

In addition, Image 10 speaks in a crystal-clear language about the distance or closeness of Arab publics vis-à-vis Israel. While support for (economic) shari’a impedes support for better relations with Israel, it is the Islamist ideology which prolongs the distance, enmity, and even hatred of still too many sectors in the Arab world toward the Jewish state.

Image 10: Distance from Israel explained

Image 10: Distance from Israel explained

Conclusion

The existential challenge confronting the Muslim Brotherhood is obvious from its announcement in July 2019 that it no longer seeks political power and seeks to integrate its members within other political formations.82 This is an indication of the success of the repressive tactics adopted by Cairo against the Islamist future. Leftist and secular political parties, however, have no desire to work with the Brotherhood because of its own track record during Morsi’s disastrous tenure when it ignored all other political formations. As one left-wing political opposition leader noted: “The Muslim Brotherhood is a political and ideological enemy on a par with military rule. We might have similar demands when it comes to calling for the end of repression in Egypt and the release of political prisoners. But this does not mean that we would work together.”83 The Brotherhood has been down this path before in its turbulent history – tactically retreating from the political sphere during earlier bouts of state repression, only to resurface once more politically when conditions were more favorable.

While its future does look bleak, it is perhaps too soon to write its political obituary. After all, the Muslim Brotherhood has survived previous rounds of legal prohibitions and repression – notably during the 1960s when Cairo executed Qutb.84 Such repression may also serve to heal the internal divisions of the organization. Morsi’s death in a Cairo court on June 17, 2019, has also transformed him from bumbling fundamentalist politician into a martyr and has elicited widespread sympathy for the organization.85 The Brotherhood has also received millions of dollars in foreign support from countries like Qatar and from charitable foundations it has set up in the West. Moreover, the Brotherhood continues to collect membership dues from its 600,000 Egyptian members and continues to own supermarkets, furniture stores, and communal enterprises with which to fund its own activities.86 While Cairo has clamped down on the Brotherhood’s charities, it has done little to alleviate the lot of impoverished Egyptians. Indeed, repression without winning hearts and minds is a losing recipe. One could also argue that the parasitic nature of the military’s involvement in the Egyptian economy hinders creating optimal economic conditions to improve the lot of the ordinary Egyptian. This economic failure could well result in Egyptians losing faith in the Sisi government and, by extension, in the secular project – despite the results of the opinion polls mentioned above.

What is true of Egypt is also true of the rest of the Arab world. In the 2017-2018 Arab Opinion Index (see also, above, on the 2016 survey) that surveyed 18,830 respondents across 11 Arab countries, a paltry 1.39 percent of respondents viewed the economic conditions in their respective countries positively. This was hardly surprising given the fact that 30 percent of citizens live in need – meaning that their household income does not cover their recurrent monthly expenditure. Moreover, 33 percent of respondents regard unemployment, poverty, and price inflation as their most pressing challenges.87 The youth often bear the brunt of these economic travails. This was a catalyst for their resorting to storm-trooper tactics during the Arab Spring. Such economic stagnation, however, also serves to bolster Islamists who make use of legitimate economic grievances to advance their antidemocratic Islamist order. What is desperately needed, then, in the Muslim world to halt the Islamist juggernaut while promoting a democratic future is the adoption of technology, significant investments in human capital and human development, and the creation of conditions in which the private sector can thrive.88

Statistical Appendix

Table 1: The interpretation of the Arab Barometer variables for the multivariate results

Variable number

Variable label

Variable – named according to highest numerical values

1

q201.1 I trust: The government (the cabinet).

q201.1 No trust: The government (the cabinet).

2

q201.3 I trust: The elected council of representatives (the parliament).

q201.3 No trust: The elected council of representatives (the parliament).

3

q201.4 I trust: Public security (the police).

q201.4 No trust: Public security (the police).

4

q201.6 I trust: The armed forces (the army).

q201.6 No trust: The armed forces (the army).

5

q201.7 I trust: Civil society institutions (associations, clubs, volunteer youth groups, etc.).

q201.7 No trust: Civil society institutions (associations, clubs, volunteer youth groups, etc.).

6

q201.12 I trust: The Muslim Brotherhood.

q201.12 No trust: The Muslim Brotherhood.

7

q201.13 I trust: Religious Leaders.

q201.13 No trust: Religious leaders.

8

q516.4 To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?: A democratic system may have problems, yet it is better than other systems.

q516. Disagree: A democratic system may have problems, yet it is better than other systems.

9

q605.1 The government and parliament should enact laws in accordance with the people’s wishes.

q605.1 The government and parliament should not enact laws in accordance with the people’s wishes.

10

q605.2 The government and parliament should enact laws in accordance with Islamic law.

q605.2 The government and parliament should not enact laws in accordance with Islamic law.

11

q607.1 Democracy is a system that contradicts the teachings of Islam.

q607.1 Democracy is a system that does not contradict the teachings of Islam.

12

q607.2 In a Muslim country, non-Muslims should enjoy fewer political rights than Muslims.

q607.2 In a Muslim country, non-Muslims should enjoy the same political rights as Muslims.

13

q607.3 Banks charging interest contradicts the teachings of Islam.

q607.3 Banks charging interest does not contradict the teachings of Islam.

14

q607.4 Gender-mixed education should be allowed in universities.

q607.4 Gender-mixed education should not be allowed in universities.

15

q608.7 To what extent do you agree with each of these statements? Religious minorities have the right to practice their religion freely.

q608.7 Religious minorities have no right to practice their religion freely.

16

q610.1 Do you pray daily?

q610.1 No daily prayer.

17

q610.6 Do you listen to or read the Koran (or the Bible)?

q610.6 No listening to or reading the Koran (or the Bible).

18

q700.1 Prefer economic relations with the United States.

q700.1 Not prefer economic relations with the United States.

19

q700.2 Prefer economic relations with Saudi Arabia.

q700.2 Not prefer economic relations with Saudi Arabia.

20

q700.3 Prefer economic relations with Iran.

q700.3 Not prefer economic relations with Iran.

21

q700.4 Prefer economic relations with Turkey.

q700.4 Not prefer economic relations with Turkey.

22

q700.6 Prefer economic relations with Israel.

q700.6 Not prefer economic relations with Israel.

23

q700a.1 Prefer security relations with the United States.

q700a.1 Not prefer security relations with the United States.

24

q700a.2 Prefer security relations with Saudi Arabia.

q700a.2 Not prefer security relations with Saudi Arabia.

25

q700a.3 Prefer security relations with Iran.

q700a.3 Not prefer security relations with Iran.

26

q700a.4 Prefer security relations with Turkey.

q700a.4 Not prefer security relations with Turkey.

27

q700a.6 Prefer security relations with Israel.

q700a.6 Not prefer security relations with Israel.

28

q1016 I will read you some statements related to your household income. Which of these statements comes closest to describing your household income?

q1016 Household income not sufficient.

Table 2: The variables of the factor analytical model, based on the 2016 Arab Barometer Survey

Variable number

Variable label

Variance explained (0.0 = 0%; 1.0 = 100%)

1

q201.1 I trust: The government (the cabinet).

0.687

2

q201.3 I trust: The elected council of representatives (the parliament).

0.635

3

q201.4 I trust: Public security (the police).

0.630

4

q201.6 I trust: The armed forces (the army).

0.548

5

q201.7 I trust: Civil society institutions (associations, clubs, volunteer youth groups, etc.).

0.468

6

q201.12 I trust: The Muslim Brotherhood.

0.515

7

q201.13 I trust: Religious leaders.

0.481

8

q516.4 To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statement?: A democratic system may have problems, yet it is better than other systems.

0.438

9

q605.1  The government and parliament should enact laws in accordance with the people’s wishes.

0.656

10

q605.2  The government and parliament should enact laws in accordance with Islamic law.

0.462

11

q607.1 Democracy is a system that contradicts the teachings of Islam.

0.510

12

q607.2 In a Muslim country, non-Muslims should enjoy fewer political rights than Muslims.

0.562

13

q607.3 Banks charging interest contradicts the teachings of Islam.

0.631

14

q607.4 Gender-mixed education should be allowed in universities.

0.470

15

q608.7 To what extent do you agree with each of these statements? Religious minorities have the right to practice their religion freely.

0.399

16

q610.1 Do you pray daily?

0.651

17

q610.6 Do you listen to or read the Koran (or the Bible)?

0.655

18

q700.1 Prefer economic relations with the United States.

0.615

19

q700.2 Prefer economic relations with Saudi Arabia.

0.598

20

q700.3 Prefer economic relations with Iran.

0.686

21

q700.4 Prefer economic relations with Turkey.

0.548

22

q700.6 Prefer economic relations with Israel.

0.694

23

q700a.1 Prefer security relations with the United States.

0.677

24

q700a.2 Prefer security relations with Saudi Arabia.

0.634

25

q700a.3 Prefer security relations with Iran.

0.689

26

q700a.4 Prefer security relations with Turkey.

0.618

27

q700a.6 Prefer security relations with Israel.

0.698

Table 3: Variance explained

Eigenvalue

% of variance explained

Cumulated percentage of variance explained

Distrust

4.160

14.859

14.859

Distance from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

3.178

11.350

26.208

Distance from Iran and Turkey

1.967

7.026

33.235

Distance from Israel

1.856

6.629

39.864

Islamism

1.454

5.193

45.057

Secularism

1.223

4.370

49.426

Support for democracy in the Arab world

1.159

4.140

53.566

(Economic) shari’a

1.087

3.883

57.450

Table 4: Results of the promax factor analysis

Variable – named according to highest numerical values

Distrust

Distance from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

Distance from Iran and Turkey

Distance from Israel

Islamism

Secularism

Support for democracy in the Arab world

(Economic) shari’a

q201.1 No trust: The government (the cabinet).

0.807

0.060

0.048

0.131

-0.284

0.112

0.235

-0.067

q201.3 No trust: The elected council of representatives (the parliament).

0.777

0.015

0.129

0.153

-0.254

0.098

0.167

0.018

q201.4 No trust: Public security (the police).

0.758

0.137

-0.039

-0.039

-0.002

0.110

0.075

-0.027

q201.6 No trust: The armed forces (the army).

0.593

0.128

-0.028

-0.109

0.264

0.089

-0.074

0.054

q201.7 No trust: Civil society institutions (associations, clubs, volunteer youth groups, etc.).

0.655

0.091

0.140

0.096

-0.017

0.023

-0.013

-0.058

q201.12 No trust: The Muslim Brotherhood.

0.622

-0.059

0.255

0.034

-0.363

0.247

0.269

-0.202

q201.13 No trust: Religious Leaders.

0.637

0.030

0.234

-0.064

-0.316

0.216

0.207

-0.182

q516. Disagree: A democratic system may have problems, yet it is better than other systems.

-0.083

0.039

0.067

-0.168

0.568

0.149

-0.020

-0.125

q605.1 The government and parliament should not enact laws in accordance with the people’s wishes.

-0.030

0.042

-0.002

0.039

0.159

-0.032

0.094

0.716

q605.2  The government and parliament should not enact laws in accordance with Islamic law.

0.241

0.074

0.215

-0.077

-0.532

0.398

0.366

-0.293

q607.1 Democracy is a system that does not contradict the teachings of Islam.

0.045

-0.057

-0.103

0.005

-0.026

-0.093

0.650

0.052

q607.2 In a Muslim country, non-Muslims should enjoy the same political rights as Muslims.

0.219

-0.038

0.017

0.115

-0.283

0.061

0.717

-0.120

q607.3 Banks charging interest does not contradict the teachings of Islam.

0.000

0.055

0.012

-0.210

0.233

0.264

0.429

-0.603

q607.4 Gender-mixed education should not be allowed in universities.

-0.114

0.038

-0.128

0.114

0.657

-0.253

-0.127

0.182

q608.7 Religious minorities have no right to practice their religion freely.

-0.074

0.016

0.089

-0.116

0.430

0.099

-0.391

0.281

q610.1 No daily prayer.

0.153

0.030

0.104

-0.049

-0.178

0.781

0.087

-0.193

q610.6 No listening or reading the Koran (or the Bible).

0.065

0.027

0.013

-0.174

0.012

0.765

-0.067

-0.037

q700.1 Not prefer economic relations with the United States.

0.008

0.685

0.061

0.356

0.234

-0.145

-0.026

0.098

q700.2 Not prefer economic relations with Saudi Arabia.

0.113

0.708

0.345

-0.163

-0.101

0.168

-0.002

-0.212

q700.3 Not prefer economic relations with Iran.

0.097

0.167

0.756

0.262

0.021

-0.012

-0.040

0.071

q700.4 Not prefer economic relations with Turkey.

0.005

0.493

0.617

-0.021

-0.020

-0.025

-0.082

-0.256

q700.6 Not prefer economic relations with Israel.

0.093

0.110

0.231

0.798

-0.071

-0.089

0.022

0.054

q700a.1 Not prefer security relations with the United States.

0.048

0.716

0.095

0.416

0.130

-0.114

-0.028

0.188

q700a.2 Not prefer security relations with Saudi Arabia.

0.141

0.724

0.368

-0.120

-0.170

0.167

-0.025

-0.084

q700a.3 Not prefer security relations with Iran.

0.110

0.243

0.766

0.289

-0.075

0.013

-0.051

0.100

q700a.4 Not prefer security relations with Turkey.

0.069

0.567

0.663

0.015

-0.150

0.015

-0.098

-0.174

q700a.6 Not prefer security relations with Israel.

0.093

0.150

0.229

0.800

-0.112

-0.074

0.023

0.070

q1016 Household income not sufficient.

0.278

0.063

-0.053

0.201

-0.104

-0.173

-0.211

-0.025

Table 5: Correlations between the factors

Correlations between the factors

Distrust

Distance from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

Distance from Iran and Turkey

Distance from Israel

Islamism

Secularism

Support for democracy in the Arab world

(Economic) shari’a

Distrust

1.000

0.082

0.124

0.065

-0.208

0.158

0.150

-0.076

Distance from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

0.082

1.000

0.298

0.092

0.058

0.003

-0.054

-0.066

Distance from Iran and Turkey

0.124

0.298

1.000

0.038

-0.194

0.165

0.008

-0.175

Distance from Israel

0.065

0.092

0.038

1.000

-0.026

-0.265

-0.014

0.237

Islamism

-0.208

0.058

-0.194

-0.026

1.000

-0.132

-0.198

0.202

Secularism

0.158

0.003

0.165

-0.265

-0.132

1.000

0.172

-0.247

Support for democracy in the Arab world

0.150

-0.054

0.008

-0.014

-0.198

0.172

1.000

-0.253

(Economic) shari’a

-0.076

-0.066

-0.175

0.237

0.202

-0.247

-0.253

1.000

Table 6: Country results of the factor analysis

Country

Distrust

Distance from Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

Distance from Iran and Turkey

Distance from Israel

Islamism

Secularism

Support for democracy in the Arab world

(Economic) shari’a

Algeria

-0.496

0.206

0.082

-0.722

0.255

0.319

-0.603

0.555

Egypt

0.574

-0.170

-0.059

0.298

-0.090

-0.158

0.651

-0.165

Jordan

-0.247

-0.290

0.427

0.331

-0.099

-0.389

-0.362

0.134

Kuwait

-0.913

-0.167

-0.066

-0.473

0.432

0.105

0.226

-0.322

Lebanon

0.543

0.248

0.355

0.216

-1.253

0.571

0.809

-0.757

Morocco

0.361

-0.271

-0.068

-0.132

-0.044

0.084

-0.052

0.165

West Bank and Gaza

-0.025

0.296

-0.436

0.212

0.421

-0.206

-0.100

0.159

Sudan

0.001

-0.252

-0.738

0.012

0.531

-0.383

-0.053

0.055

Tunisia

0.309

0.349

0.330

0.360

-0.591

0.079

0.155

-0.206

Yemen

0.134

0.113

-0.046

-0.398

0.487

0.219

-0.408

0.415

* * *

Notes

1 Robert S. Leiken and Steven Brooke, “The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” Foreign Affairs 86, 2 (March-April 2007): 107.

2 Mohamed Taha, “Where next for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood after the death of Mohamed Morsi,” The Conversation, July 1, 2019, https://theconversation.com/were-next-for-egypt’s-muslim-brotherhood-after-death-of-mohamed-morsi-119134. Date accessed: July 18, 2019.

3 Refers to the global body of Muslim believers.

4 David D. Kirkpatrick, “Is the Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group?” New York Times, April 30, 2019,  https://www.nyimes.com/2019/04/30/world/middleeast/is-the-muslim-brotherhood-terrorist.html. Date accessed: July 16, 2019.

5 Marie Vannetzel, “The Muslim Brotherhood’s ’Virtuous Society’ and State Developmentalism in Egypt: The Politics of ’Goodness,’” International Development Policy Review 8 (2017): 229, http://journals.openedition.org/poldev/2327.

6 Jerrold Post, The Mind of the Terrorist: The Psychology of Terrorism from the IRA to Al Qaeda (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 175.

7 Counter Extremism Project: Muslim Brotherhood, https://www.counterextremism.com/sites/default/files/threat.pdf/Muslim%20Brotherhood-03262017.pdf. Date accessed: July 16, 2019.

8 Muslim Brotherhood, Discover the Networks, July 16, 2019,  https://www.discoverthenetworks.org/organizations/muslim-brotherhood-mb. Date accessed: July 16, 2019.

9 Z. A. Kuru and A. T. Kuru, “Apolitical Interpretation of Islam: Said Nursi’s Faith-Based Activism in Comparison with Political Islamism and Sufism,” Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations 19, 1 (2008): 100.

10 Q. Wiktorowicz, “Anatomy of the Salafist Movement,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism 29, 3 (2006): 208.

11 Ibid.

12 R. Simcox, “Time to Reassess the Muslim Brotherhood,” Heritage Foundation, 2017, http://www.heritage.org/terrorism/commentary/time-reassess-the-muslim-brotherhood. Date accessed: April 3, 2019.

13 Reuters, “Egypt says Muslim Brotherhood has formed military wing,” 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-brotherhood/egypt-says-muslim-brotherhood-has-formed-military-wing-idUSBREA180QC20140209. Date accessed: April 3, 2019.

14 Investigative Project, “Report: Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Terror Group Killed 14 Egyptians Last Year,” IPT News, December 7, 2018, //https://www.investigativeporject.org/7734/report-muslim-brotherhood-linked-terror-group. Date accessed: July 16, 2019.

15 Magnus Taylor, “Hassan al-Turabi’s Islamist Legacy in Sudan,” Commentary, March 10, 2016, International Crisis Group, https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/horn-africa/sudan/hassan-al-turabi-s-islamist-legacy-sudan. Date accessed: August 3, 2019.

16 M. Somer, “Conquering versus democratizing the state: Political Islamists and fourth wave democratization in Turkey and Tunisia,” Democratization 24, 6 (2017): 1024.

17 Counter-Extremism Project: Muslim Brotherhood.

18 Wikipedia, “Mohamed Morsi,” 2019b, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Morsi. Date accessed: January 21, 2019.

19 Bashir Ali, “Repression of Sudanese civil society under the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party,” Review of Political Economy 37, 126 (2010):  438.

20 Yosra Akasha, “Islamists in Sudan: Too many faces of the same coin,” Open Democracy, July 22, 2013, http://www.opendemocracy.net/yosra-akasha/islamists-in-sudan-too-many-faces-of-the-same-coin. Date accessed: October 8, 2013.

21 Hussein Solomon, “Challenges confronting Sudan in a post-Bashir era,” RIMA Occasional Papers 7, 7 (May 2019), https://muslimsinafrica.wordpress.com/2019/05/02/challenges-confronting-sudan-in-a-post-bashir-era-professor-hussein-solomon. Date accessed: August 6, 2019.

22 Yaroslav Trofimov, “Jihad comes to Africa,” Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2016, htpps://www.wsj.com/articles/jihad-comes-to-africa-1454693025. Date accessed: August 3, 2019.

23 Benedetta Berti and Anat Kurz, “Hamas and Governance in Gaza,” Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv, 2017, https://www.inss.org.il/publication/hamas-governance-gaza. Date accessed: August 3, 2019.

24 Ibid.

25 “The Muslim Brotherhood: A Failure in Political Evolution,” Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School, July 2017, https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/muslim-brotherhood-failure-political-evolution. Date accessed: July 16, 2019.

26 Somer, “Conquering versus democratizing.”  

27 The Economist, “The Future of Islamism: Can political Islam make it in the modern world?” 2017, http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/2172061-auguries-are-mixed-political-islam-make-it-in-the-modern-world. Date accessed:  August 28, 2017.

28 Ibid.

29 The Economist, “Future of Islamism.”

30 K. Vick, “Street Rule: Egypt’s elected president is felled by mass demonstrations: Can democracy be run by protests?” Time, July 22, 2013, 22.

31 T. Osman, Islamism: A History of Political Islam from the Fall of the Ottoman Empire to the Rise of ISIS (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017).

32 Vick, “Street Rule.”

33 Counter-Extremism Project: Muslim Brotherhood.

34 Vick, “Street Rule.”

35 Osman, Islamism.

36 The Economist, “Egypt’s Tragedy,” July 6-13, 2013, 11.

37 The Economist, “Future of Islamism.”

38 A. Hamzawy, “Seven years on: Why Egypt failed to become a democracy,” 2017, https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/seven-years-why-egypt-failed-become-democracy. Date accessed: December 14, 2017

39 Osman, Islamism.

40 The Economist, “Future of Islamism.”

41 Irina Tsukerman, “Echoes of the Muslim Brotherhood ‘Arab Spring’ in Post-Bashir Sudan,” Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, August 6, 2019, Internet://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/arab-spinrg-post-bashi-sudan/. Date accessed: August 7, 2019.

42 Osman, Islamism.

43 The Economist, “Egypt’s Tragedy.”

44 Ibid.

45 Vick, “Street Rule.”

46 The Economist, “Egypt’s Tragedy.”  

47 The Economist, “Future of Islamism.”

48 R. Michaelson, “Sisi wins landslide victory in Egypt election,” 2018,   https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/02/sisi-poised-to-declare-landslide-victory-in-egypt-election. Date accessed: June 10, 2018.

49 The Economist, “Egypt’s Tragedy.”

50 O. Roy, The Failure of Political Islam (London: I. B. Tauris, 2007).

51 The Economist, “Future of Islamism.”

52 Leiken and Brooke, “Moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” 108.

53 Ibid., 115.

54 David D. Kirkpatrick, “Trump Considers Them Terrorists, but Some Are Allies,” New York Times, May 10, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/10/world/middleeast/trump-muslim-brotherhood-html. Date accessed: July 16, 2019.

55 Counter Extremism Project: Muslim Brotherhood.

56 Ibid.

57 Ibid.

58 Leiken and Brooke, “Moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” 109.

59 Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (New York: Vintage, 2007).

60 Leiken and Brooke, “Moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” 116.

61 Muslim Brotherhood, Discover the Networks.

62 Counter Extremism Project: Muslim Brotherhood.

63 The Economist, “Future of Islamism.”

64 “Egyptian activists arrested as Cairo cracks down on critics,” Al-Monitor, July 1, 2019, www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/06/egypt-activists-wave-arrests-crackdown.html. Date accessed: July 16, 2019.

65 Nicholas Linn and Emily Crane Linn, “Egypt’s War on Charity,” Foreign Policy, January 29, 2015,  https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/01/219/egypt’s-war-on-charity-morsi-muslim-brotherhood. Date accessed: July 17, 2019.

66 Ibid.

67 Counter Extremism Project: Muslim Brotherhood.

68 Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt, and Maggie Haberman, “Trump Pushes to Designate Muslim Brotherhood a Terrorist Group,” New York Times, April 30, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/30/us/politics-trump-muslim-brotherhood.html. Date accessed: July 18, 2019.

69 “Egyptian activists arrested,” Al-Monitor.

70 “A Closer Look at How Religious Restrictions Have Risen Around the World,” Pew Research Center, July 15, 2019, www.pewresearch.org. Date accessed: August 8, 2019.

71 Malek Abduljaber, “Effects of Modernization and Values Change in the Arab World,” Changing Societies and Personalities 2, 2 (2018): 161-82.

72 Sabri Ciftci, F. Michael Wutrich, and Ammar Shamaileh, “Islam, Religious Outlooks and Support for Democracy,” Political Research Quarterly 72, 2 (2019):   435-39.

73 Daniel Sanderson, “Arab Youth Survey: Religion `too influential’ in Middle East, say young people,” The National, April 30, 2019, thenational.ae.uae/arab-youth-survey-religion-too-influential-in-the-middle-east-say-young-people-1.855341. Date accessed: August 5, 2019.

74 Ibid.

75 “Trust in radical Islamist movements plummets, major survey finds,” The National, June 24, 2019, thenational.ae.uae/trust-in-radical-islamist-movements-plummets-major-survey-finds-1.878578. Date accessed: July 16, 2019.

76 https://www.arabbarometer.org.

77 https://www.ibm.com/za-en/analytics/spss-statistics-software.

78 Leonid Grinin, Andrey Korotayev, and Arno Tausch, Islamism, Arab Spring, and the Future of Democracy (Cham: Springer, 2018); Hussein Solomon and Arno Tausch, Islamism, Crisis and Democratization: Implications of the World Values Survey for the Muslim World (Cham: Springer, 2019); Arno Tausch, Almas Heshmati, and Qarawī Hishām, The Political Algebra of Global Value Change: General Models and Implications for the Muslim World, Economic Issues, Problems and Perspectives (New York: Nova, 2017).

79 Mark Tessler, Amaney Jamal, and Michael Robbins, “New findings on Arabs and democracy,” Journal of Democracy 23, 4 (2012): 89-103; Michael Robbins, “After the Arab Spring: People Still Want Democracy,” Journal of Democracy 26, 4 (2015): 80-89; Lars Berger, “Sharīʻa, Islamism and Arab support for democracy,” Democratization 26, 2 (2019): 309-26; Nimah Mazaheri and Steve L. Monroe, “No Arab Bourgeoisie, No Democracy? The Entrepreneurial Middle Class and Democratic Attitudes since the Arab Spring,” Comparative Politics 50, 4 (2018): 523-50; Eva Bellin, “The Puzzle of Democratic Divergence in the Arab World: Theory Confronts Experience in Egypt and Tunisia,” Political Science Quarterly 133, 3 (2018): 435-75; Michael D. Driessen, “Sources of Muslim democracy: The supply and demand of religious policies in the Muslim world,” Democratization 25, 1 (2018): 115-35.

80 Promax factor analysis is a statistical technique allowing researchers to reduce the multitude of “background variables” to new mathematical dimensions, reproducing in an optimal fashion the underlying correlation matrix of the original data. In contrast to earlier approaches to factor analysis, promax factor analysis allows for correlations between the new dimensions; see the ample debate in Tausch, Heshmati, and Hishām, Political Algebra.

81 Alberto Alesina and Eliana La Ferrara, “Who trusts others?” Journal of Public Economics 85, 2 (2002): 207-34; Alberto Alesina and Paola Giuliano, “Culture and institutions,” Journal of Economic Literature 53, 4 (2015): 898-944.

82 “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood: A change toward democracy?” Al-Monitor, July 14, 2019, www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/07/egypt-muslim-brotherhood-democracy-sisi-regime.html. Date accessed: July 16, 2019.

83 Ibid.

84 Counter Extremism Project: Muslim Brotherhood.

85 A. J. Caschetta, “In Death, Morsi Becomes Mossadeq,” New English Review, July 3, 2019, newenglishreview.org/blog-direct-link-cfm?blog_id=68495. Date accessed: July 16, 2019.

86 Counter Extremism Project: Muslim Brotherhood.

87 Doha Institute, “The 2017-2018 Opinion Index: Main Results in Brief,” 2018, https://www.dohainstitute.org/en/News/Pages/ACRPS-Releases-Arab-Index-2017-2018.aspx. Date accessed: April 25, 2019.

88 D. A. Camlibel, “What are the determinants of economic growth in Muslim countries?” Journal of Human Science 11, 1 (2014): 401-26.