Radical Islam In Egypt A Comparison Of Two Groups

By David Zeidan

The author compares two key Egyptian radical Islamic groups, the Society of Muslims(Takfir wal-Hijra) and the Society of Struggle (Jama’at al-Jihad) and analyzes their differencesin doctrine and strategy. This study is presented in the context of a broader examination of thehistory of militant Islamic groups in Egypt. The author argues that the two societies furnishexamples of basic types of radical Islamic movements. In addition, Jama’at al-Jihad remainsimportant in contemporary Egyptian politics and in that country’s internal struggle.The Egyptian radical groups understudy here, the Society of Muslims (Takfirwal-Hijra) and the Society of Struggle(Jama’at al-Jihad), espoused drasticallydifferent ideologies and strategies forgaining power. The Society of Muslims(Takfir) had a passive separatist andmessianic ideology, delaying activeconfrontation with the state to an indefinitepoint in the future when it could reach acertain degree of strength. In comparison,the Society of Struggle (al-Jihad) followedan activist, militant ideology that committedit to immediate and violent action againstthe regime.ISLAMIC RESURGENCEHistory reveals cyclical patterns ofIslamic revival in times of crisis.Charismatic leaders arose attempting torenew the fervor and identity of Muslims,purify the faith from accretions and corruptreligious practices, and reinstate the pristineIslam of the Prophet Muhammad’s day.Leaders of revivals tended to appear eitheras renewers of the faith promised at the startof each century (mujaddids), or as thedeliverer sent by God in the end of times toestablish the final kingdom of justice andpeace (mahdi).

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Filed Under: EgyptFeaturedJemaah IslamiyahMuslim BrotherhoodStudies & Researches

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