How Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey’s Gulenists fell from power to persecution

Religion News Service | 8/20/2019 | Staff
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(The Conversation) — Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first-ever democratically elected president, died unexpectedly during a trial in June 2019. He was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an almost century-old Islamist group that rose to power after the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

Its political tenure was short. Morsi was deposed by a coup in 2013, on the one-year anniversary of his election. Egypt’s new military regime declared the Muslim Brotherhood, whose political coalition received 38% of the votes in the 2011 parliamentary elections, a terrorist organization. Its members have been arrested, jailed and tortured. Morsi was sentenced to death, though the sentence was overturned on appeal.

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The Muslim Brotherhood’s fall recalls the sudden decline of another once-powerful Islamic group: Turkey’s Gulen movement.

In July, Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan marked the third anniversary of a failed coup accusing Fethullah Gulen – a former ally and leader of an influential Islamic movement – of masterminding the attempted overthrow of his government.

Gulen - Scholar - Cleric - United - States

Gulen, a Turkish scholar and cleric who has lived in the United States for 20 years, has consistently denied involvement in the coup. He founded an Islamic community in the 1970s. By 2013, his movement had millions of supporters worldwide, as well as media institutions and schools in over 100 countries, including some 150 charter schools in the United States.

The New York Times once presented the movement as promoting “a gentler vision of Islam.” In 2014, the BBC called Gulen “Turkey’s second most powerful man,” after then Prime Minister Erdogan.

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Now, Erdogan has declared the Gulenists to be terrorists. Those who are affiliated with the movement have been systematically purged and jailed.

How did the Muslim Brothers and the Gulenists fall so far, so fast?

Research - Islam - Authoritarianism - Groups - Victims

My research on Islam and authoritarianism indicates that both groups were victims of the same dangerous combination: an authoritarian state, Utopian ideas about Islam...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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