Governing Political Islam

An “Islamistphobic” Discourse in Egypt?


  • Sami Al-Daghistani Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society, Oslo | Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, New York | Middle East Institute, Columbia University



This paper analyzes what I define as an anti-Islamist discourse (or an “Islamistphobia”) both as a social reality and as conceptual innovation in contemporary Egypt. The paper focuses on four interrelated actors—the current Egyptian regime and its discourse on political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood and its historical entanglements with the Egyptian state, the Salafi al-Nūr and Rāya Parties, and al-Azhar’s relation with both the regime and the Islamists. I advance an idea that anti-Islamist sentiments channel primarily through official (state) and media discourses in Egypt, rooted in both a colonialist locale and in a contemporary religious framework and its anticolonial rhetoric. It is, however, directed primarily against the Muslim Brotherhood, rather than against all Islamist groups across the board.

Keywords:   Anti-Islamist discourse, Islamistphobia, Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt, political Islam




How to Cite

Al-Daghistani, S. (2021). Governing Political Islam: An “Islamistphobic” Discourse in Egypt?. Journal of Arabic and Islamic Studies, 21(1), 95–120.