Muslim Political Parties

Egypt hosts a wealth of Muslim political parties with disperate agendas and complex relationships to one another. The relations among and within these groups and the role of foreign actors such as the United States and Israel, play central roles in the determining the future of the Egyptian political sphere.  

Shortly after the overthrow of Mubarak, the Muslim Brotherhood officially created a political party called the Freedom and Progress Party. Other leading Muslim political parties include the Al-Wasat Party, Al-Jama’a Al-Islamiyya (The Islamic Group), and the Safety and Development Party.

The official candidate of the Salafis for the presidency is Hazem Sala Abu Ismael, althought many Salafi preachers do not endorse participation in elections.

Among Sufis, the Rifa’i Tareeka, the largest Sufi order in Egypt with 3 million followers, announced its intention to create of Sout Al-Horeyya (The Voice of Freedom Party), and the ‘Azmeyya Tareeka, which has 1.5 million followers, announced its intention to create Tahrir Masr (The Liberation of Egypt Party). These announcements have created disagreements within the Sufi orders.

There is a strong debate within emerging political parties over the participation and leadership of women and Copts. Among Salafis, there is broad consensus that neither a Christian nor a copt can hold the position of a President, as exemplified in an edict issued by Sheikh Mohamed Hassan. This position is also endorsed by the Justice and Freedom Party of the Muslim Brotherhood which rejected the possibility of a woman or a Copt as president. An exception to this general consensus is al-Madkhalayya Salafism. In a video clip, Sheikh Osama Al-Koussy argued that Islam established a civil state, and if people want to manage their affairs in the best way, they should choose the best among in them to do the task; he endorsed the possibility of having a Copt or a woman becoming President of Egypt Muhammed Mahdy Akef, the former Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, said in a news report that the leader of the Freedom and Progress Party could be Christian. Both emerging Sufi parties said they were open to all Egyptians, including Christians and women, however the question of leadership has not been discussed fervently.

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