The Muslim Brotherhood and the Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya in Egypt: An Ideological Comparison
AuthorÜstündağ, Gökhan Murat
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Although the Muslim Brotherhood or Muslim Brethren (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun) and Gama’a al-Islamiyya or Jamaat al-Islamiyya have same origin, Egyptian, they are indeed very different organizations regarding ideologies and strategies they espoused. Despite the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood reflected, except Sayyid Qutb, mostly moderate ideas; the Gama’a, after emerging in the mid-1970s as an offshoot of the Brotherhood, basically preferred a radical and violent vision until 1990s. What point brings them together was their salafiyya root. Both viewed westerners and westernized elites in Egypt as corrupted, and rejected the idea of secularism. Their solution to these problems is also very similar; to return to real and genuine roots of Islam; Quran and Sunna. On the other hand, divergence resulted basically from their ideologies which were core determiner for differing strategies. It is importantly be noted that the Gama’a sustained radical stance firmly until the declaration of new initiative in 1997. From that point onwards, the Gama’a became a moderate and reconcilable movement like the Brotherhood. In this work, two organizations were compared in terms of their approaches towards democracy, Islamic state, women rights, secularism, relationship with state, and conception of jihad in the course of the time. Results showed that, the Brotherhood’s ideology prescribed “gradual” strategy whereas ideology of Gama’a necessitates a “radical” revolutionary one until mid-1990s. Moreover, it may comfortably be claimed that, the Gama’a was absorbed by the Brotherhood given its inactive position in 2000s.