December 29, 2011
Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No. 780

In the Post-Mubarak Era, Egyptian Salafi-Jihadis Renew Their Da'wa

By: R. Green*

Introduction

Since the toppling of the Mubarak regime, the Egyptian Salafi groups, both mainstream and radical, have undergone major developments. The mainstream Salafis have entered Egypt's political life, winning considerable support in the parliamentary elections. These Salafis were discussed in a previous MEMRI report: Egypt's Islamic Camp, Once Suppressed By Regime, Now Taking Part in Shaping New Egypt – Part IV: For First Time in Egypt, Salafis Running in Elections.[1] The following report will focus solely on the radical Salafis; the Salafi-jihadis.

One of the byproducts of the political upheaval in Egypt since the January 25 revolution has been the resurfacing of the country's jihadi movement, formerly suppressed and restrained by the Mubarak regime. The movement's reemergence was made possible by two key factors: first, the mass release of political prisoners, many of whom belong to various Islamist movements, including the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) and its offshoots; and second, the easing of restraints on free speech. Thanks to these developments, radical clerics and activists, long silenced, resumed preaching Salafi-jihadi ideology in mosques, on websites, and at public events in an attempt to garner support and recruit followers.

Like the rest of Egyptian society, the Salafi-jihadis are currently focused on influencing the political future and character of their country. For the time being, the issue of jihad and fighting Islam's enemies is on the back burner, though it is still very much present. In recent written and spoken statements, the Salafi-jihadi clerics have focused mainly on their vision of an Islamic state and on their opposition...

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