Egypt greatly exemplifies a country that bases its political movements around language, ethnicity, and religion. Among many other Middle Eastern countries Egypt is at a crossroads between tying its political policies with strong Islamist values and religion or moving forward to having a more westernized influence, yet still identifying strongly with Arabic culture. Khairat El-Shater’s candidacy for president of Egypt became a conflict that clearly shows this constant battle between religion and ethnicity.
Khairat El-Shater is the chief strategist and financier for an organization called The Muslim Brotherhood. By definition The Muslim Brotherhood is, “ A religious and political group founded on the belief that Islam is not simply a religion, but a way of life. It advocates a move away from secularism, and a return to the rules of the Quran as a basis for healthy families, communities, and states.” (Jones). This organization holds most of the power in Congress and if Shater were to gain presidency it would therefor result in The Muslim Brotherhood obtaining a complete political monopoly over Egyptian politics fixed on the basis of Islamic religion.
Hosni Mubarak- Egypt’s former president- outlawed The Muslim Brotherhood. The majority of the educated youth of Egypt are against holding traditional Islamic values as the basis of their political influence. They fight for a more westernized and liberal society. Although they fight for westernization and democracy they do not want any outside help. They still view non-Arabic people who are trying to speed up the process for westernization as intruders. So they essentially still hold ethnicity to a high degree of importance. Whatever the result may be of Egypt’s political dilemma both hold influence centered around concept that unify how people identify themselves in the Middle East- either religious value or ethnicity and language. Hopefully one day Egypt, along with the rest of the Middle East may become societies of peace, correlating their political movements with that of which are best for all their people.
1) Kirkpatrick, David. “Islamist Group Breaks Pledge to Stay Out of Race in Egypt.” New York Times [New York] 31 03 2012, n. pag. Web. 5 Nov. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/world/middleeast/brotherhood-chooses-a-candidate-in-egypt.html>.
2) Kirkpatrick, David. “Keeper of Islamic Flame Rises as Egypt’s New Decisive Voice .” New York Times [New York ] 12 03 2012, n. pag. Web. 5 Nov. 2013. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/world/middleeast/muslim-brotherhood-leader-rises-as-egypts-decisive-voice.html?_r=0>.
3) Jones, Bryony, dir. What is the Muslim Brotherhood. Writ. Susanna Cullinane. CNN.Com, 2013. Web. 5 Nov 2013. <http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/03/world/africa/egypt-muslim-brotherhood-explainer/>.
Jacob Standofer, Oren Paisner, Jessica Silvestri