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Muslim Extremism in Egypt: The Prophet and Pharaoh, With a New Preface for 2003 Paperback – April 7, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0520239340 ISBN-10: 0520239342 Edition: First Edition, With a New Preface for 2003

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, With a New Preface for 2003 edition (April 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520239342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520239340
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.6 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #917,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Within the past decade, a wave of religious fundamentalism has surged through the Islamic world. With the assassination of President Anwar Sadat as a focal point, Kepel examines the ideologies and activities of several Egyptian fundamentalist groups over 30 years. He describes the small but devoted religious groups determined to replace their barbaric regime with a government devoted to the true principles of Islam. The fervor of the Islamic revolutionaries, however, was equalled by their political naivete, and their success in killing Egypt's president led only to arrests and continued powerlessness. Although sympathetic to their religious concerns, Kepel asserts that most of the zealots were motivated more by the hopelessness and poverty of Egyptian life than by a desire to replace a modernist regime with pure Islam. A reliable, scholarly study of an important phenomenon. Elizabeth R. Hayford, President, Assoc. Colls. of the Midwest, Chicago
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"[With its] intensity of interpretive detail and convincing evocation of the economic and political contexts in which Islamist movements in Egypt have developed, this book is in every way a worthy sequel to the work of Richard P. Mitchell, to whom it is dedicated."--Dale F. Eickelman, The Muslim World -- Review

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alessandro Bruno on February 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is without a doubt one of the best and most readable texts on the subject of the rise of Islamist movements in Egypt. It also works as a fitting sequel to Doanld Mitchell's groundbreaking volume - the only one of its kind ever translated into Arabic - on the Ikhwan al-Muslimin, the Muslim Brotherhood written almost two decades earlier. The book describes the social, historical and economic context behind the Islamist movements neither resorting to apologetic arguments or righteous accusations. Kepel shows that Egyptian Islamist organizations have adopted a variety of approaches that are, more often than not, peaceful such as to effectively constitute what may be civil society in Egypt. Indeed, such organizations as the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt have recently shown that some compromise is possible with the representatives of the status-quo as well as with rival factions by participating in national elections, such as to avoid a civil war scenario. The Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt now opposes government policy from a legal and regulated official position but it faces pressure from more radical Islamist groups.
Nonetheless, intractable socio-economic problems have made it ever more difficult to contain unrest. The continuing reduction of the public sector since the late '70s and the failure to stimulate private economic enterprise has made it even harder for Egypt to sustain the precarious economic conditions that stimulate Islamist unrest. Although the Egypt achieved significant development in the '50s and '60s, it has pursued misguided economic policies that have fallen short of their potential. The benefits of the oil boom after 1973 and the Sadat-Mubarak economic liberalization policies that followed were mismanaged.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Tron Honto on May 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is the work that made the now imminent French scholar of Islamism famous. Kepel was more or less the first scholar to frame "Muslim Extremism" as 1) an extremist phenomenon and 2) a real political threat to the region in such an explicit fashion. As such, this work has been much debated and criticized; however, it still remains a classic in the field.
Ideally, Kepel's work should be read in tandem with Mitchell's work on the Muslim Brothers as Kepel himself seemed to see this work as the follow-up to Mitchell's groundbreaking work. Mitchell's work stopped at the incarceration of the Brotherhood after the Free Officers now longer found their support politically desirable or expedient, and basically, Kepel's picks up at that point-the inhumanity of the prisons, the gallows, and the torture rooms.
Unlike Mitchell's work, however, Kepel's study is not confined to a study of the Muslim Brotherhood but is a study of the radicalization of the Islamic trend in Egypt which splinter into many factional, competing parts-at times as a result of state initiatives as under Sadat. The differing policies of the Nasser and Sadat regime are compared, the influence of Sayyid Qutb emphasized, the moderation and political compromise of the Muslim Brotherhood emphasized, and the desperation and impoverishment of the violent groups such as al-Jama'at al-Islamiyyah and Takfir wa-l-Hijrah are cited as their sources. These all became classic themes in the field. Kepel's work demonstrates that the sources of political Islam are as varied as its social manifestations.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert on September 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most comprehensive and well-documented study and analyses of the islamic fundamentalist groups in modern Egypt that has seen the light up to the present. I read it from start-to-end in a run, so involving is the matter it researches as the way in which it is written. An authoritative essay and a source of information on one of the most shocking issues of the last (and present) century, focused on one of the less known areas about religious terrorism. The translation from the French edition is accurate and confiable. A title you can not miss if you are engaged in studying the subject or merely in knowing more about it. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the first book I would recommend to anyone wanting to understand (1) the agenda of Muslim extremist groups, and (2) what draws people to their "cause".
Kepel argues that the extremist groups have been around since the departure of the European imperialist powers, seeking to create a "pan-Muslim" state as an alternative to the secular nation-states that occupy the region today. Naiive, groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood were easily subverted, repressed and generally thought of as harmless until the assassination of Anwar Sadat.
Citing the poverty, lack of opportunity and political repression as the fertile ground that created these groups, Kepel sympathetically goes on to discuss their agenda - essentially that "secular" "nation-states" are alien and counter to the history and culture of the Islamic world. Truly and outstanding book.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Adams on October 5, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was written over 20 years ago, long before anyone focused on the possible consequences of a growing menace to humanity in the guise of Islamic fanatics calling the masses back to the founding tenants of Islam. Kepel lived in Egypt and spent a lot of time researching and reading what was happening in the 70's and 80's as well as examining the causes and consequences of Islamic calls to jihad and having Muslims continue their conquest of the earth in the name of Allah.
This book shows how Egypt's experiment with socialism resulted in a corrupt, dishonest, and totally failed state. Kepel points out the costs of this experiment by showing that the state created a horrific perfect storm, using the establishment of Israel as the ultimate bogeyman to deflect the masses attention away from the failures of socialism. Essentially the Egyptians were no different than the other kleptocracies in the Middle East and held the hand puppet of Israel as the focus of attention while the other hand deprived the general population of any semblance of a decent standard of living. Kepel's insights into the assassination of Sadat because of his overtures to Israel were most enlightening, essentially showing that Sadat was killed by forces he had nourished with years of hatred toward modernity. Carter and his advisors probably still do not understand to this day what damage they did in the Camp David accords when Sadat traded Soviet handouts for American ones. The view held by the vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East of the American-Zionist plot to overtake the Middle East was cemented and fermented in the accord. It took another generation for it to come to fruition in 9/11, but it all started there.
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