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The Role of Religion in the Public Domain After the January 25 Revolution

The role of religion in the public domain represents one of the main features of the Egyptian post-revolutionary phase. This aroused some concern, not only because it has led to disagreement and tension between Islamic groups and the liberal and secular groups, but also because some view it as a setback, undermining the gains made by the civil revolution, which expected an increase in secularity at the expense of the religious in the political and social spheres. According to some, this may disrupt the process of democratization in Egypt. Others believe that the fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime and the end of the dominance of his ruling party, the National Democratic Party (NDP), have led to the emergence of greater diversity in the political life of Egypt and the influence of players. Since Mubarak stepped down, many new political parties and forces that belong to differing intellectual and ideological movements have appeared. The most prominent shift was represented by the fragmentation that affected the Islamic movements and parties’ map after the revolution. The number of political parties that were based on religious tenets exceeded fifteen, with the possibility of this number increasing if the current state of political openness continues.

This study argues that religion will have an important role in determining the form and nature of the democratic transition in Egypt during its next phase. It also demonstrates that there is no longer a dominant Islamic force in the public domain. Instead, some kind of fragmentation has occurred within the Islamic movement. The study shows that the more Egypt moves toward democracy, the more there is a shift in the rhetoric of new and old Islamic parties and movements, and diversity in their ideologies and practices.

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Les opinions exprimées et les arguments avancés dans cet article demeurent l'entière responsabilité de l'auteur-e et ne reflètent pas nécessairement ceux du CETRI.