Adam L. Silverman PhD
With all the unrest and now violence in Egypt a lot of ink, a lot of radio and television airtime, and a lot of internet digits have been used discussing whether the events in Egypt will bring the Muslim Brotherhood into power there and what it means for Egypt, Israel, the region, and the US. While all this has been going on, in fact before the events in Egypt even started, the fear of the Muslim Brotherhood has been a big concern for some. Especially those that are convinced that the Muslim Brothers are taking over the American government, subverting the intelligence community (h/t to Digby), through such individuals as Homeland Security Advisor Brennan and DNI Clapper, and infiltrating the Conservative Movement. Since the events in Egypt have occurred there have been further extreme, conspiratorial assertions that the Muslim Brotherhood are now partnering with the socialist left in the US (based on the context of the posting, this seems to mean liberals and/or Democrats and notice the gratuitous conflation of Islam and Nazism…) and that a Muslim Caliphate that engulfs the Middle East, parts of Central and SE Asia, and parts of Europe will soon be reestablished (as well as a Chinese dominated sphere in Asia, Africa, and the Antipodes and a Russian one in Europe and parts of Asia). All of this comes within several month of Oklahoma outlawing Sharia in the November 2010 elections even though there are only 15,000 Muslims in Oklahoma out of a population of 3.7 million and no evidence that anyone was trying to establish it or use it as a basis for jurisprudence in Oklahoma or anywhere else in the US. And I don’t think I need to reprise the hysteria of last Summer and Fall about the Park 51 Islamic Center that was, at the time, the most recent example of responses to Islam and Muslims out of all proportion to the actual terrorist threat from violent, reactionary extremists.
While it is a good thing to be concerned about the potential outcomes in Egypt, including the loss of potential life, some of the most recent research on the Muslim Brotherhood clearly indicates that they were de-radicalized; with the religious leadership repudiating their support for the use of violence to achieve the movement’s goals. This occurred over the last several decades through a combination of state led repression on the leadership while incarcerated, selective inducements to the leadership and the movement, the social interactions between the movement and its members, as well as the influence of the charismatic leadership of the movement. There is no way to really forecast what a future Egyptian government or political society will look like, or what role the Muslim Brotherhood might play in them, just as there is really no way to know if we are seeing the beginnings of a cascade effect through the Middle East, but one thing is for certain: we have enough real problems to deal with as a country that we do not need to go out and invent more.
 Adam L. Silverman is the Culture an Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his alone and do not necessarily represent those of the US Army War College or the US Army.
 I’m not going to link directly to the originating sources for these assertions as I don’t want to give those who push conspiracy theories any additional traffic. The links I have provided do contain links to the original sources if you want to click all the way through.
 This is, of course, with the exception of the normal and routine accommodation that US law makes for certain religious rites, such as marriage, divorce, or annulment. In these cases the clergy’s religious authority to perform the ritual is accepted by the civil authorities as legally binding.
 Please see Omar Ashour’s The De-Radicalization of Jihadists: Transforming Armed Islamist Movements, Routledge: 2009. I do not know the author, but have been asked to review the manuscript for the Journal of Politics and Religion. I have gotten permission from the book review editor, once the official review is published, to do a modify write up for the SST readership on the book.