Egypt after Mubarak

Egypt after Mubarak: Liberalism, Islam, and Democracy in the Arab World

Bruce K. Rutherford
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 304
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    Egypt after Mubarak
    Book Description:

    Egypt's autocratic regime is being weakened by economic crises, growing political opposition, and the pressures of globalization. Observers now wonder which way Egypt will go when the country's aging president, Husni Mubarak, passes from the scene: will it embrace Western-style liberalism and democracy? Or will it become an Islamic theocracy similar to Iran?Egypt after Mubarakdemonstrates that both secular and Islamist opponents of the regime are navigating a middle path that may result in a uniquely Islamic form of liberalism and, perhaps, democracy.

    Bruce Rutherford examines the political and ideological battles that drive Egyptian politics and shape the prospects for democracy throughout the region. He argues that secularists and Islamists are converging around a reform agenda that supports key elements of liberalism, including constraints on state power, the rule of law, and protection of some civil and political rights. But will this deepening liberalism lead to democracy? And what can the United States do to see that it does? In answering these questions, Rutherford shows that Egypt's reformers are reluctant to expand the public's role in politics. This suggests that, while liberalism is likely to progress steadily in the future, democracy's advance will be slow and uneven.

    Essential reading on a subject of global importance,Egypt after Mubarakdraws upon in-depth interviews with Egyptian judges, lawyers, Islamic activists, politicians, and businesspeople. It also utilizes major court rulings, political documents of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the writings of Egypt's leading contemporary Islamic thinkers.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-3786-1
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. CHAPTER ONE Hybrid Regimes and Arab Democracy
    (pp. 1-31)

    On April 30, 2006, the Egyptian Parliament voted by a large majority to renew the emergency law. This law grants the president extraordinary powers to detain citizens, prevent public gatherings, and issue decrees with little accountability to Parliament or the people. The vote was a familiar ritual: the Egyptian Parliament has routinely approved the emergency law for most of the past forty years.¹ However, this acquiescence to presidential power is not universal. A few months prior to the April vote, the Supreme Constitutional Court issued a ruling that substantially limited the scope of the president’s authority under the emergency law....

    (pp. 32-76)

    These remarks, by the president of the de facto professional association for judges (the Judges’ Club), reaffirmed the judiciary’s role as the standard bearer of Egypt’s liberal tradition. This tradition has its foundations in the legal and educational reforms of the late nineteenth century. It was marginalized during the Nasser period, but remained integral to the professional identity of both lawyers and judges. It reemerged after 1970 as one of the primary alternatives to the statist ideology of the Nasser era.

    Egypt’s liberal tradition incorporates the core principles of classical liberalism: a clear and unbiased legal code, the division of...

    (pp. 77-130)

    As Muhammad ‘Akif walked into the auditorium in downtown Cairo, the assembled journalists were both skeptical and curious. ‘Akif had been a relatively unknown figure in the Muslim Brotherhood. Now, in March 2004, he was the newly appointed General Guide of the organization. As he began his opening remarks, he addressed the issue that concerned most Egyptians: What, exactly, does the Brotherhood want? ‘Akif declared that the Brotherhood seeks “a republican system of government that is democratic, constitutional, and parliamentary and that conforms with Islamic principles.”¹

    With this statement, ‘Akif asserted the Islamic alternative to both the regime and the...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR The Decline of Statism and the Convergence of Political Alternatives
    (pp. 131-196)

    As the preceding two chapters suggest, Egypt’s rich intellectual history has produced both liberal and Islamic conceptions of constitutionalism. However, they were on the periphery of political life for much of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Throughout this period, the prevailing ideology was a sweeping conception of statism that created a vast and pervasive state apparatus. A series of economic crises in the late 1980s and early 1990s weakened this statist order. Its decline created an opportunity for liberal constitutionalism and Islamic constitutionalism to broaden their public appeal and expand their influence over political and legal debates. As these debates...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE Economic Restructuring and the Rise of Market Liberalism
    (pp. 197-230)

    The convergence of political alternatives offered by liberal constitutionalism and Islamic constitutionalism will not, alone, determine the future of Egyptian politics. Political decisions remain in the hands of a small elite that has few ties to the judges or the Muslim Brotherhood leaders discussed in the previous chapter. However, Egypt’s market-oriented economic policies since the early 1990s have created new constituencies in the private sector and the ruling party that favor liberal reforms. They are powerful and durable advocates of the same institutional changes supported by the judges and the Brotherhood.

    As noted in chapter 4, the economic foundations of...

  9. CHAPTER SIX Liberalism, Islam, and Egypt’s Political Future
    (pp. 231-260)

    The market liberals discussed in the previous chapter call for an accountable state with clearly delineated functions that is constrained by law and by institutions. This state is limited, but it is not weak. In their view, the state must have the authority and the capability to regulate the market, collect taxes, enforce contracts, prevent monopoly behavior, and adjudicate commercial disputes quickly and fairly. It must also have the capacity to build a strong and effective network of social services that provide education, health care, unemployment insurance, and pensions. In addition, it should provide financial and technical support to specific...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 261-278)
  11. Index
    (pp. 279-292)