The Collapse of the Egyptian Revolution: Liberal Freedom Versus Islamist Justice
This chapter re-frames the trajectory of the 2011 Egyptian revolution as a clash between liberal freedom and Islamist justice. Although the Egyptian intellectual classes, whether liberals or Islamists, shared an admiration for Western-style liberal democracy and a belief in its potential for solving the economic decay of the country, they differed in their methods of implementation. Non-Islamist activists, who generally championed the revolutionary coalitions, wanted a free society with democratic government that limits, but does not eliminate, the role of Islam in the state. Islamists, on the other hand, while stopping short of calling for the full implementation of Shari’a (excluding the Salafi groups), envisioned a central role for Islam in the newly reformed state and insisted on reforming it according to their concept of justice. Political freedom was not perceived as indispensable for the just state in the way that literal justice was. This chapter draws on these groups’ revolutionary slogans, banners, and graffiti to support this argument.