Egypt

Yusuf al-Qaradawi

Yusuf al-Qaradawi (b. 1926) is a Sunni Muslim theologian and one of the most highly respected scholars in the Arabic-speaking world and the wider Muslim world. He is considered by his followers as a moderate thinker and part of the Muslim reformist tradition, continuing the work of early reformists such as Muhammad ‘Abduh and Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, though unlike them, he does not argue that Islam must update itself to meet modern needs. Rather, he argues that Islam already provides genuine answers to modern questions. His position is consistent with the wave of revivalism triggered by...

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The Millet System

The Millet System refers to the Ottoman administration of separate religious communities that acknowledged each community’s authority in overseeing its own communal affairs, primarily through independent religious court systems and schools.

Bilharzia

Bilharzia is a freshwater parasite that causes the disease schistosomiasis, an infection which impacts the liver, kidneys, bladder, rectum, and can lead to death. The vector for the parasite is freshwater snails, which thrive in the standing water that fill Egypt’s irrigation canals. Rates of bladder cancer—the most common form of cancer in Egypt—are directly tied to rates of bilharzia.

Sources:

Shady Salem, et al. ...

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Youth Movements in Egypt

Contributed by Ben Marcus, Harvard Divinity School

Youth movements in Egypt played a key role in orchestrating the uprisings that overthrew Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011. It is crucial to note that a number of these youth movements—including Kefaya, the April 6 Movement, and others—began organizing long before 2011 and that some of these movements have attempted to use their popularity to impact the formation of the new government and its policies....

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The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna, a schoolteacher and Islamist intellectual who believed that Islam could, and should, adapt to modern contexts. The Brotherhood has been the most important and strongest political opposition force in Egypt, and the largest Islamic organization in the world. The Egyptian government has maintained restrictions on the Muslim Brotherhood since the mid-century, and, despite a brief period...

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Hosni Mubarak

Hosni Mubarak (b. 1928) was the fourth President of Egypt (1981-2011), and a former Air Force commander and vice president. He ascended to the presidency following the 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat by a member of the militant Islamist organization Islamic Jihad. He was reelected in 1987, 1993, 1999, and 2005, the final election marred by supposedly high support for Mubarak but widespread irregularities and low voter turnout.

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The Egyptian Military

The Military has been the backbone of Egyptian political power in modern Egypt the largest component of which is the army. The Free Officers revolution and subsequent presidency of Gamal ‘Abdel Nasser created foundations for a modern authoritarian state in which the military is the ruling power in Egyptian politics—albeit not the governing power (thus Egypt is not a military dictatorship). All post-independence leaders, except...

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Egyptian Emergency Laws

Egypt’s Emergency Law was enacted after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and was extended multiple times until its dissolution in May of 2011 in the wake of the Arab Spring. However, Emergency Laws have been used prior to 1981, and more recently, were enacted to grant the government and police forces broad rights to arrest and detain individuals deemed to be “threats” to the government, to limit freedoms of assembly, to place limits on residence or travel, as well as the right to try individuals in...

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