Asst Prof Avi Spiegel Discusses "The Fate of Morocco's Islamists"

Foreign Policy -- After Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's ouster from power, Islamists in Egypt face an uncertain fate. But they aren't the only ones. Developments in Egypt now pose a particularly thorny problem for groups across the Middle East and North Africa that trace their lineage back to the Muslim Brotherhood, the world's oldest Islamist movement.

Is the Islamist experiment in political participation now doomed? If my discussions with Islamists in Morocco these past two weeks are any indication, the answer, at least in Morocco, seems clear. It is not, according to them, that democratic governance is flawed, but rather it is how Morsi himself practiced politics that is problematic. Instead of tying their fate to Morsi -- in the hopes of boosting the former Egyptian president's image and thus their own -- I instead heard Moroccan Islamists go to great lengths to try to differentiate themselves from the Brotherhood's experience.

"What do you think," I asked in Arabic, "about the situation with your brothers in Egypt?" But before I could finish my question, a leader of Morocco's governing Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD) interrupted me. "In Egypt," he said firmly, "they are not our brothers." (Full Article)

Article originally published in Foreign Policy on July 9, 2013. 

Avi Spiegel, PhD, is assistant professor of political science and international relations at the University of San Diego.