This paper examines the challenges facing the Society of Muslim Brothers in Egypt as it negotiates the democratic opening of the Arab spring. An Islamist movement with an established ideological track record, the Society of Muslim Brothers has played a prominent role in Egyptian society for over eighty years. It has now emerged as a major political faction, but its Islamist values and goals may conflict with the democratic politics to which it has committed. Compromise is not new to the Society of Muslim Brothers; it has survived as a movement by doing so. Working on behalf of the Islamist cause in the streets, however, is vastly different than representing an entire nation in the halls of power. Now the Society of Muslim Brothers must decide whether to reinterpret its Islamist agenda for the good of the polity or reinterpret democracy for narrow movement interests.

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