Muslim Brotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood, officially Jamiat al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun [Arab.,=Society of Muslim Brothers], religious and political organization founded (1928) in Egypt by Hasan al-Banna. Early opposed to secular tendencies in Islamic nations and also anti-British and anti-Zionist, the organization has sought to foster a return to the original precepts of the Qur'an. It grew rapidly, establishing an educational, economic, military, and political infrastructure. Threatened by the group's popularity and its bombings and other politically motivated violence, Egypt's government twice banned (1948, 1954) the organization. It has since existed largely as a clandestine but often militant group, marked by its rejection of Western influences. The Muslim Brotherhood remains strong in Egypt, Syria, Sudan, and other Arab countries, and has organizations in most Islamic nations.

The group was permitted to operate openly in Egypt in the late 1980s and early 90s after disavowing violence in the 1970s, but the government again moved against the group beginning in the mid-1990s. Members have been elected to Egypt's parliament as independents, and in 2005 candidates linked to the group won a fifth of the seats in parliament, a record. Egypt subsequently mounted a new crackdown on the group, beginning in late 2006, and in 2007 the nation's constitution was amended to ban religious-based political parties.

Candidates linked to the group won almost no seats in 2010 amid government efforts to exclude them from the parliament. The group joined in the 2011 protests that led to President Mubarak's ouster. It subsequently established the Freedom and Justice party (FJP), which aligned itself with other opposition groups. The FJP won the largest bloc of parliamentary seats in the 2011–12 elections, but the parliament was dissolved by the supreme court for election violations in mid-2012. Mohamed Morsi, the FJP presidential candidate, won the June, 2012, runoff election, becoming Egypt's first democratically elected president, but he was overthrown a year later amid increasing unrest. Subsequently the Brotherhood was again banned and its leaders arrested.

The Syrian branch of the group sought to drive Hafez al-Assad from power through a terror campaign and insurgency in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which culminated in the government's 1982 massacre in Hama. In Jordan the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, the Islamic Action Front, is an important opposition party. The Muslim Brotherhood also has given rise to a number of more militant and violent organizations, such as Hamas, Gama'a al-Islamiya, and Islamic Jihad.

See studies by B. Rubin (2010) and C. R. Wickham (2013).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

"Islam Is the Solution": Constitutional Visions of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood
Stilt, Kristen.
Texas International Law Journal, Vol. 46, No. 1, Fall 2010
The Muslim Brotherhood, Its Youth, and Implications for U.S. Engagement
Jeffrey Martini; Dalia Dassa Kaye; Erin York.
Rand, 2012
The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, 1945-1958: Founding, Social Origins, Ideology
Teitelbaum, Joshua.
The Middle East Journal, Vol. 65, No. 2, Spring 2011
Egypt's Islamist Shadow
Farahat, Cynthia.
Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 18, No. 3, Summer 2011
Big Brother Politics: The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt
Bae, Lena.
Harvard International Review, Vol. 33, No. 3, Fall 2011
From Accomodation to Confrontation: The Muslim Brotherhood in the Mubarak Years
Campagna, Joel.
Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 50, No. 1, Summer 1996
Al-Ikhwan Al-Muslimeen: The Muslim Brotherhood
Aboul-Enein, Youssef H.
Military Review, Vol. 83, No. 4, July/August 2003
The Syrian Muslim Brothers and the Syrian-Iranian Relationship
Talhamy, Yvette.
The Middle East Journal, Vol. 63, No. 4, Autumn 2009
The Muslim Brotherhood Reborn
Talhamy, Yvette.
Middle East Quarterly, Vol. 19, No. 2, Spring 2012
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood: Understanding Centrist Islam. (World in Review)
Walsh, John.
Harvard International Review, Vol. 24, No. 4, Winter 2003
Out of the Shadows: The Muslim Brotherhood Is Reviled and Feared in Equal Measure in the West. but Should It Be? and Is the Islamist Movement about to Seize Power in Egypt?
Gerges, Fawaz.
New Statesman (1996), Vol. 140, No. 5081, November 28, 2011
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