Egypt's Path After Uprising Does Not Have to Follow Iran's





CAIRO — Two Egyptian leaders have been struck down in 30 years: one by an Islamist assassin’s bullets, the other by the demands of hundreds of thousands of protesters in a peaceful uprising. The first event, the death of President Anwar el-Sadat, marked a spectacle of the most militant brand of political Islam. The revolution the world witnessed Friday, the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak, may herald the dawn of something else.

There is a fear in the West, one rarely echoed here, that Egypt’s revolution could go the way of Iran’s, when radical Islamists ultimately commandeered a movement that began with a far broader base. But the two are very different countries. In Egypt, the uprising offers the possibility of an accommodation with political Islam rare in the Arab world — that without the repression that accompanied Mr. Mubarak’s rule, Islam could present itself in a more moderate guise.

Egypt’s was a revolution of diversity, a proliferation of voices — of youth, women and workers, as well as the religious — all of which will struggle for influence. Here, political Islam will most likely face a new kind of challenge: proving its relevance and popularity in a country undergoing seismic change.

“Choosing a regime will become the right of the people,” Ali Abdel-Fattah, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, said Saturday. “The nature of the regime will be decided by elections. And I think Egyptians agree on the demands and how to realize them.”...


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