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The recent protests by Egyptian opposition movements have revealed a deep and abiding prejudice in the U.S. foreign policy community toward the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. These feelings are shared among many evangelicals who tend to view all Islamic groups as prone to violence and militantly hostile to Israel and the Christian church.

While it is clear that the Muslim Brotherhood's views on a range of policy issues fall short of the American ideal of political liberalism, it is unfair to paint the group as the biggest threat in Egypt to the safety of Christians and the survival of Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood's conservative tendencies pale in comparison to the current regime's persecution of their own citizens.

Although it may appear at first counter-intuitive, Egypt's Christians could well be safer if the Muslim Brotherhood were a part of the ruling government.

One Voice Out of Many in Egypt

The Muslim Brotherhood does not represent all of Egyptian society. Estimates vary, but some guess that the Muslim Brotherhood would take between 20 and 40 percent of the vote in free elections. For a variety of reasons, their appeal is limited—some Egyptians balk at their social conservatism, such as wanting to censor sexually explicit content on television or implementing stricter regulations on alcohol. The party does endorse Shari'ah law, but the Egyptian state already recognizes Shari'ah in its constitution.

What the Brotherhood is more known for in Egypt is its calls for reforming the regime, including promoting an independent judiciary and fighting corruption in government. An op-ed published Thursday in The New York Times by a member of the Brotherhood's leadership defined succinctly their mission: "We aim to achieve reform ...

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February 2011

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