In March 2006, Carnegie senior associates Amr Hamzawy, Marina Ottaway, and Nathan Brown explored the ambiguous position of moderate Islamist movements on crucial political issues—what the authors referred to as “gray zones”. The paper elicited many responses, positive and negative, by representatives of Islamist movements.
In this Carnegie Policy Outlook, What Islamists Need to be Clear About: The Case of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, Hamzawy, Ottaway, and Brown respond to the reactions and critiques by Islamists and seek to explain the issues on which Islamist movements need to achieve greater clarity in order to gain credibility in the West. Using the case of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the authors address Western concerns over the Islamist political vision and provide new analysis into the complexity of the Brotherhood’s position on key issues such as Sharia law, religious identity, organization and leadership, universal citizenship, and women’s rights.
“We believe that this attempt to explain Western views of a problem to an audience in the Middle East typifies the Carnegie Endowment’s New Vision of what a twenty-first century think tank should do, namely not only provide policy makers and analysts with information and insights about other regions of the world, but also provide policy makers and analysts in other parts of the world with a better understanding of the United States and the West,” said the authors.
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About the Authors
Amr Hamzawy is a senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment. He is a noted Egyptian political scientist whose research focuses on the changing dynamics of political participation in the Arab world, and the political role of Islamist movements.
Marina Ottaway is director of the Middle East Program and senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Project at the Carnegie Endowment. She coedited with Thomas Carothers Uncharted Journey: Promoting Democracy in the Middle East (Carnegie, 2005)
Nathan Brown is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment and is also professor of political science and international affairs and director of the Middle East Studies Program at the George Washington University.