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The transformation of the political ideology and the democracy discourse of the muslim brotherhood in Egypt

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2008
Avşar, Esra
This thesis analyzes the main ideological transformation that the Muslim Brotherhood has undergone in Egypt. The recurring theme issued throughout this thesis is ‘transformation’ that stands in an evolutionary interaction with the local, regional and external environment. Within the scope of this leading theme, the study examines the historical overview of the Movement and analyzes the central periods and turning points of this transformation at two basic levels: Domestic and international. The study argues that, the 1980s came as the first pivotal turning-point where the Muslim Brotherhood began to enter the political system with a greater freedom. With the beginning of the change in the 1980s, this thesis argues, the Muslim Brotherhood began to transform itself in a way that opposed the dominant discussion in the literature over Islamists - state relations: ‘Cooperation brings moderation and repression brings radicalization.’ (Repression - repression, cooperation - cooperation pattern). The study investigates how the Muslim Brotherhood broke this single-track rotation by standing consistently moderate during the periods of repression as well, after the 1980s. In particular after the 1990s, the study extends the domestic-oriented scope of the observation to take into consideration the influence of regional and international variations that have begun to be increasingly influential over the transformation of the Movement. The study argues that, the 2000s came up as the second and the most important landmark that opened a new momentum with the rise of the ‘democracy’ discourse in the Movement’s ideological change. The study provides a wide-ranging analysis over the democracy discourse of the Muslim Brotherhood after the 2000s and brings the challenges of this newfound ideological process into focus. It is argued that, the Muslim Brotherhood’s ambiguous stance on ‘democracy’ reinforces the discussions on the validity of the Movement’s moderate political actor role. In conclusion, some conclusive remarks are introduced by making an overall assessment over the Muslim Brotherhood’s political participation crisis and the future of the Egyptian political liberalization experiment.