“Our Cherished Political System”: Secularism and the Muslim Brotherhood through the Lens of Canadian Media
The resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February, 2011 in the face of massive political protests and demonstrations prompted a flurry of media attention in Canada. Popular media outlets were rife with speculation regarding the political future of Egypt’s foremost Islamist party, the Muslim Brotherhood. This article reports findings of an analysis of three news articles published in each of Canada’s two leading national English-language newspapers, the Globe and Mail and the National Post, in February 2011, using the key terms "Muslim Brotherhood" and "Egyptian Revolution." This analysis revealed a deep ambivalence regarding the place of secularism within democracy. In order to promote their respective ideological agendas of "open" and "closed" secularism respectively, the Globe and Mail and the National Post suppressed the historical and political complexities that facilitated the growth of the Muslim Brotherhood and differentiate it from other Islamist parties. This article highlights those complexities by examining the socio-political context that gave birth to the Muslim Brotherhood, the ways in which the Brotherhood differs from other Islamist parties, its response to autocratic control, and its relationship to democracy. In doing so, this investigation underscores the foundations of Canada’s ambivalence toward secularism at home and abroad.
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University of Victoria