The events of the Arab Spring have brought Islamist groups in Egypt to the forefront, both as participants in the country’s revolution and now as influential voices in shaping Egypt’s future. Today Islamist groups of varied stripes are competing with more secular voices in Egypt over the proper place of Islam in the state’s functioning and the nation’s identity. What are the visions for the role of Islam in the new Egypt, how would these visions be implemented, and what impact would they have on Egypt domestically and internationally? This panel event addressed these important questions.
Jonathan AC Brown received his BA in History from Georgetown University in 2000 and his doctorate in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago in 2006. Dr. Brown has studied and conducted research in Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia and Iran, and he is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. His book publications include The Canonization of al-Bukhari and Muslim: The Formation and Function of the Sunni Hadith Canon (Brill, 2007), Hadith: Muhammad’s Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Oneworld, 2009) and Muhammad: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2011). He has published articles in the fields of Hadith, Islamic law, Sufism, Arabic lexical theory and Pre-Islamic poetry and is the editor in chief of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islamic Law. Dr. Brown’s current research interests include the history of forgery and historical criticism in Islamic civilization, comparison with the Western tradition; and modern conflicts between Late Sunni Traditionalism and Salafism in Islamic thought.
Heba Raouf Ezzat is Lecturer of Political Theory at Cairo University and Visiting Lecturer at the American University in Cairo, in addition to currently serving as Visiting Senior Fellow at the Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Raouf received her Ph.D in Political Theory from Cairo University. She has previously served as a visiting researcher at the Centre for the Study of Democracy (CSD), University of Westminster (UK) (1995-1996), the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (1998), and the Center for Middle East Studies, University of California-Berkeley (2010). Dr. Raouf has been the Academic Coordinator for Namaa, a youth and development initiative, since 2006, and she is co-founder and Head of the Board of Trustees of the Republican Consent (Tawafoq), an NGO committed to civic education, social crisis management, and media monitoring. Topics of publications and academic contributions include: changing maps of citizenship, global civil society, democratic transition and Islamism, urban and cyber sociology, and women in Islam.
Samer Shehata is an Assistant Professor of Arab Politics at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. He teaches courses on Arab and Middle East politics, Islamist politics, Egyptian politics, U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East, and other subjects. He has published widely in both academic and policy journals and his first book, Shop Floor Culture and Politics in Egypt, was published in 2009 by the State University of New York Press (A Middle East edition was published by the American University in Cairo Press in 2010). He is also the editor of the forthcoming, Islamist Politics in the Middle East: Movements and Change (Routledge, 2012). Dr. Shehata has been interviewed by a wide range of media and has also testified before the United States Congress. He has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Ford Foundation, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In 2009, he was selected as a Carnegie Scholar for his work on Islamist politics.