The Muslim Brotherhood’s Patient Jihad

Mohamed Morsi’s recent election as president of Egypt has proved a matter of concern. A candidate from the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, many fear that Morsi’s victory, along with the Brotherhood’s parliamentary successes, will threaten Egyptian-Israeli peace. More generally, it is unclear whether the Brotherhood, now empowered in its native state, will prove a moderating or destabilizing force in the Arab world.

And so observers listened carefully to Morsi’s inauguration speech, in which he seemed to be addressing these two concerns. Part of his speech, widely interpreted as a reference to future relations with Israel, emphasized ‘the state of Egypt's commitment to international treaties and agreements. More broadly, he declared that ‘we carry a message of peace to the world.’

Encouraging as these statements may be, in fact they accord neatly with the Brotherhood’s sophisticated strategy for dealing with outsiders. That strategy is laid out comprehensively in Mustafa Mashhur’s Jihad is the Way. Mashhur, leader of the Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996 to 2002, explains the movement’s religious beliefs and aspirations in detail--especially the role of violent jihad in bringing about a world under a unified Islamic Caliphate. It gives reason to doubt Morsi’s reassurances....

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