Islam and the State in the Post-Mubarak Era

The role of Islam in the state following the Egyptian uprising which ousted now-former President from power is a hotly debated issue. Many Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, are very active on the political scene. Other groups include the Salafists, Al-Jama’a Al-Islamiyya, Al-Wasat Party, etc. These groups present different conceptions for the role of Islam in the state, but they all agree on maintaining Article 2 of the current Egyptian Constitution untouched. There are also widespread demands for electing the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar instead of the current system of the post being a Presidential appointee.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood participated in the uprising on January 27th, two days after it started on the 25th. Despite this late participation, the Muslim Brothers played an important role in the Egyptian uprising through organizing and defending the public spaces, such as Tahrir Square, that were occupied during the uprising. The group and the Party (FJP) participated in the 29th of July Rally, which held the goal of supporting the national consensus and the role of the military. The Rally took the title “The Unity Friday.”

The 29th of July 2011 Rally also revealed the orientations of Islamist groups and perception of the identity of the state. First, the protestors expressed their support of Marshal Tantawy, the Minister of Defense. The protestors, who were mainly Islamist, Muslim Brothers, Salafis, etc., expressed their rejection for the call to establish a civilian Presidential Council to replace the SCAF. Estimates put the number of Salafis who participated at half a million. Salafis also organized rallied on the same say in a number of governorates. 

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