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The Muslim Brotherhood’s Agenda in Egypt

While many have voiced concern about Muslim Brotherhood intentions for Egypt now that the group looks certain to dominate the new government in Egypt and have disproportionate influence on Egypt’s new constitution, few have been able to speak about Egypt with the precision of Eric Trager, a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania. In an analysis penned for The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Trager writes:

Three such issues should be of special concern to Washington. First, FJP leaders have repeatedly said that they would ban alcohol and beach bathing — both of which are essential to a tourism industry that accounts for roughly 10 percent of the economy. Second, Egypt faces a severe cash crisis, and its ability to attract international investment may be hampered by the Brotherhood’s intention to implement the Quranic prohibition on interest-based banking. Third, newly elected FJP parliamentarians have said that they will not tolerate criticisms of Islam or sharia, including those made by Christians and secularists. In recent months, Brotherhood-affiliated lawyers have filed suits against organizations and individuals accused of insulting Islam. These attempts to limit free speech are likely to intensify once the FJP assumes control of parliament.

He continues also to speculate about the Muslim Brotherhood’s foreign policy agenda. While Trager curiously does not discuss leverage when suggesting U.S. policy positions—The Washington Institute does not like to go too far out on a limb for fear of antagonizing the State Department and imperiling access—his piece is nevertheless the best thing out there on Egypt right now, and well worth reading.


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