Democratization of Islamist movements in Egypt and Morocco: Political opportunities, organizational frameworks, and the ideological marketplace
The current decade has seen the rise of Islamist political movements winning electoral victories in Egypt, Morocco, and other countries in the Middle East. A key shift has occurred in the position of the Islamist movements on the question of pluralist democracy. Yet there are significant differences from one case to another. The moderate Islamic movement in Morocco (The Justice and Development Party, PJD) has embarked on more far-reaching pro-democratic transformations of their ideological and institutional orientations than the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt (MB). The Egyptian case was less successful on democratization because the entry of the Islamists into an inclusive pluralist system was thwarted by the state, and the democratization of its organization and discourse lags behind its counterpart in Morocco.
The analysis reveals that Islamist democratization is shaped by three main variables: transformations in the broader public sphere and Islamic ideological marketplace, regime policies towards the Islamic movements and the organizational structures of those movements. In Morocco, the more inclusive, open and monarchy-centered political system, and the pluralist yet ordered religious public sphere and the institutionally differentiated pattern of Islamic activism encouraged the democratization of its key Islamic political movement: The PJD.
The MB's limited capacity for change, its conflicted ethos and organizational tensions, as well as the resultant ideological lethargy are key variables factored in analysis. In addition, the de-liberalization of the Egyptian regime, increasing conservatism of its decentralized religious public sphere and the organizational fusion of the proselytizing and the political, discouraged democratic momentum within the MB. In summary, stalled democratization of the MB compared to the PJD should not be approached in mono-causal terms of ideology. Instead, it is an outcome of a multi-causal process of continuity and change that involved factors of agency and structure cutting across state policies, Islamist organization and the religious marketplace.
North African Studies;
0560: North African Studies
0615: Political science