Islamist Discontent in the Sadat Years: Considering the Structures of Anti-Sadat Islamist Thought
This paper will consider the growing Islamist opposition to Anwar Sadat’s presidency in Egypt in the 1970s. It will explore the tenets for what became an extreme dimension of Islamism in the form of groups like Takfir wal-Hijrah and Egyptian Jihad, the latter being the organization of Sadat’s assassin Khalid Islambouli. This is done by tracing the ideological and social trajectories of Islamism in the country, and this paper engages with the thought of figures like Abd-as-Salam Faraj and Sayyid Qutb along with commentaries on their social and theological influence. Sadat’s own public comportment, policies like his Infitah (open door), and the accompanying sociological changes and economic malaise prompted a turn to Islamism and its potent ideological aspects by a disillusioned youth. In considering the interplay between ideology, structural realities, and Sadat’s government’s policies, this paper will demonstrate how the pervasive anti-Sadat sentiment from a crucial part of Egyptian society was realized.
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