The Religious Forecast for Egypt

Most of the writing on Egypt is concerned with what is going to happen next in Egypt from a political point of view, but who can say what will happen next in Egypt from a relgious point of view? Of course the two are inextricably intertwined. Here is a sampling of stuff I have come across on the matter in recent days.

ABC Radio National

The Spirit of Things

Egypt and Islam

Egyptian-born Muslim feminist and New York-based reporter, Mona Eltahawy is an advocate of the Egyptian revolution and believes it will deliver freedom and democracy. Professor Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of the Egyptian founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, is a proponent of a new Islam that is modern but conservative. They have different views but both are the new Muslim voices calling for change.

The Philosophers Zone

Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood and Sayyid Qutb

The Society of the Muslim Brothers, otherwise known as the Muslim Brotherhood, has been banned in Egypt for many years. Nevertheless, after the recent upheavals, the Brotherhood was among the opposition groups invited to talk with Vice President Omar Suleiman. So today on The Philosopher’s Zone we’re exploring the life and times of the Egyptian thinker, Sayyid Qutb, the Brotherhood’s great theorist. Qutb spent many years in jail during the ’50s and’60s, but before his execution by the Egyptian government, he was the Brotherhood’s leading intellectual. And he really disliked the American suburban obsession with lawns.

Late Night Live

Egypt and women’s rights

Egyptian women have played a central role in the revolution which led to President Mubarak’s departure. What will change in Egypt mean for half its population — women? Can women’s rights be preserved and extended in the future?

Reuters Faith World Blog

Analysis: U.S. eyes Egypt Islamists as extremist fears fester

(Reuters) – U.S. officials are concerned that Islamic extremists may try to exploit Egypt’s upheaval but are not yet convinced that the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s most influential Islamist opposition group, is necessarily a threat. The toppling of President Hosni Mubarak on Friday marked the beginning of a new, uncertain era in Egypt that promises to empower Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood, long viewed with deep suspicion in the West.

Egypt opposition needs time, or Islamists will win – party

The Muslim Brotherhood will be the only group in Egypt ready for a parliamentary election unless others are given a year or more to recover from years of oppression, said a former Brotherhood politician seeking to found his own party.Abou Elela Mady broke away from the Brotherhood in the 1990s. He tried four times to get approval for his Wasat Party (Center Party) under President Hosni Mubarak’s rule, but curbs on political life prevented him doing so.

Guestview: Misrepresenting Egypt – the Mubarak myth of “secular” vs “Islamic”

By Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

The term ‘secular’ and its conceptual affiliates are doing a lot of work in misrepresenting the uprising in Egypt. ‘Secular’ politics has been taken to mean ‘good’ politics (limited democratization, stability, and support for the peace treaty with Israel), and ‘Islamic’ politics is being translated as ‘bad’ politics (the myriad dangers allegedly posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies). Accounts of the current situation in Egypt are handicapped by an inability to read politics in Egypt and Muslim-majority societies outside of this overly simplistic and politically distorting lens.

Egypt and Pakistan; something borrowed, something new

Comparisons with Pakistan tend to make you somewhat sceptical about the chances of Egypt’s uprising turning out well. Yet there is something quite new coming out of Egypt that has the potential to be transformative across the Muslim world. And that is the rejection of all forms of old authority, including, significantly, religious authority. “The revolution was not just directed against the autocratic, repressive and corrupt Egyptian regime, which relied on an alliance of money, power and corruption. It was also directed against the official religious establishment and its discourse that supports this regime, either directly or indirectly.” Hossam Tammam writes in Egyptian paper Al Masry Al Youm.

About Schütz

I am a PhD candidate & sessional academic at Australian Catholic University in Melbourne, Australia. After almost 10 years in ministry as a Lutheran pastor, I was received into the Catholic Church in 2003. I worked for the Archdiocese of Melbourne for 18 years in Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations. I have been editor of Gesher for the Council of Christians & Jews and am guest editor of the historical journal “Footprints”. I have a passion for pilgrimage and pioneered the MacKillop Woods Way.
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2 Responses to The Religious Forecast for Egypt

  1. And there was also Peter Hitchens, who took the view – before the revolution/coup had fully unfolded – that the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood achieving greater power as a result of the unrest was sufficient reason for the West not to encourage the democracy movement. An overly pessimistic view, perhaps? The few Egyptian intellectuals I have seen interviewed have expressed the belief that this is a genuine move towards liberalisation and will result in further separation of mosque and state/ religion and politics. If that proves true, this could be a truly momentous development in Middle Eastern history.

    • Schütz says:

      I agree, Pastor Mark. This time of upheaval could provide opportunities for both great evil or great good. As a human being I am pessimistic. As a Christian I am full of hope!

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