The politicisation of sectarianism in Egypt:‘creating an enemy’ the state vs. the Ikhwan

Ardovini, Lucia (2017) The politicisation of sectarianism in Egypt:‘creating an enemy’ the state vs. the Ikhwan. Global Discourse, 6 (4). pp. 579-600. ISSN 2326-9995

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This article looks at the way in which a certain understanding of sectarian violence and discourses has been historically employed as a political tool by the Egyptian Government, especially in regards to the systematic repression and discrimination against the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) (al-ʾIkḫwān al-Muslimūn) throughout the organisation’s history. Such an understanding is particularly significant as it looks at sectarian divisions along religious and political lines taking place between two political entities within the context of a state in which Sunni Islam is the official religion; therefore, tensions have been constructed by the regime on the basis of ‘moderate’ vs. ‘radical’ interpretations of Islam. Looking at the historical relationship between the state and the Islamist organisation, it is rather easy to identify a repeating pattern of short periods of cooperation alternated to much longer interludes of brutal repression, the overarching aim of both being the safeguarding of the regime’s fragile perceived legitimacy. It follows that the politicisation of sectarian hatred and strategies at the hand of the state has led to the MB being constructed and perceived as ‘the other’, which has arguably hindered the organisation’s political development and created a stigma that is still negatively impacting on the understanding of the its role and narrative today.

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Journal Article
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Global Discourse
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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Global Discourse on 09/0/12017, available online:
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16 Mar 2017 04:47
Last Modified:
24 Oct 2023 00:16