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Political Islam’s Loss of Democratic Legitimacy

DURHAM – This year, Islamist politics has faced massive setbacks in two major predominantly Muslim countries: Egypt and Turkey. But it is too soon to write political Islam off as a capable participant – even a leading force – in a pluralist democracy.

Just one year after the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi became Egypt’s first elected president, millions of Egyptians took to the street, triggering the military coup that ousted him. Morsi’s political incompetence and lack of vision in the face of economic collapse would have been enough to diminish support for his government. But his rejection of pluralism and pursuit of an Islamic dictatorship, exemplified by his efforts to centralize power in the hands of the Brothers and place himself beyond the review of Egypt’s judiciary, proved to be his undoing.