The Muslim Brotherhood, one of the Arab world’s oldest Islamist movements and Egypt’s largest opposition group, is well placed to play a prominent role as President Hosni Mubarak’s rule teeters on the brink of collapse.
The following is a guest contribution. Reuters is not responsible for the content and the views expressed are the authors’ alone. Jonathan Wright is a longtime Reuters correspondent in the Middle East who is now a translator and blogger based in Cairo.
Rachid Ghannouchi, the head of Tunisia’s main Islamist Ennahda movement returns on Sunday to the country from which he was exiled 22 years ago.
(Photo: Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi (C, with red scarf) is welcomed by supporters upon his arrival in Tunis January 30, 2011/Louafi Larbi)
(Photo: Shadows of protesters on the Tunisian flag, in Tunis January 15, 2011/Zohra Bensemra)
For years they were jailed or exiled. They were excluded from elections, banned from politics, and played no visible role in Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution. But in the brave new world of multi-party politics, moderate Islamists could attract more followers than their secular rivals like to admit.
(Photo: Tunisian protester with political demands on a banner that reads
“No to a government born of corruption” “Ben Ali is in Saudi Arabia and the government is the same (hasn’t changed)” in Arabic and “RCD, clear out!” in French. The RCD is the party of former president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. In Tunis January 18, 2011/Zohra Bensemra)
The absence of Islamist slogans from Tunisia’s pro-democracy revolt punches a hole in the argument of many Arab autocrats that they are the bulwark stopping religious radicals sweeping to power.
(Photo: Protesters in Tunis January 14, 2011/Zohra Bensemra)
The leader of a banned Tunisian Islamist movement has said he would return in the next few days from exile in London after Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who ran the country for 23 years, was forced out.