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    Answering the Call: Popular Islamic Activism in Sadats Egypt

    By: Abdullah Al-Arian

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    When revolutionary hero Gamal Abdel Nasser dismantled and suppressed Egypts largest social movement organization during the 1950s, few could have imagined that the Muslim Brotherhood would not only reemerge, but could one day compete for the presidency in the nations first ever democratic election. While there is no shortage of analyses of the Muslim Brotherhoods recent political successes and failures, no study has investigated the organizations triumphant return from the dustbin of history. Answering the Call examines the means by which the Muslim Brotherhood was reconstituted during Anwar al-Sadats presidency. Through analysis of structural, ideological, and social developments during this period in the history of the Islamic movement, a more accurate picture of the so-called Islamic resurgence develops-one that represents the rebirth of an old idea in a new setting. The Muslim Brotherhoods success in rebuilding its organization rested in large part on its ability to attract a new generation of Islamic activists that had come to transform Egypts colleges and universities into a hub for religious contention against the state. Led by groups such as al-Gamaah al-Islamiyyah (The Islamic Society), the student movement exhibited a dynamic and vibrant culture of activism that found inspiration in a multitude of intellectual and organizational sources, of which the Muslim Brotherhood was only one. By the close of the 1970s, however, internal divisions over ideology and strategy led to the rise of factionalism within the student movement. A majority of student leaders opted to expand the scope of their activist mission by joining the Muslim Brotherhood, rejuvenating the struggling organization, and launching a new phase in its history. Answering the Call is an original study of the history of this dynamic and vibrant period of modern Egyptian history, giving readers a fresh understanding of one of Egypts most pivotal eras.

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