In This Review

Muslim Extremism in Egypt: The Prophet and Pharaoh
Muslim Extremism in Egypt: The Prophet and Pharaoh
By Gilles Kepel
University of California Press, 1986, 281 pp

There is no better way to penetrate the mysteries of Muslim fundamentalism in the contemporary Arab world than to follow its course in Egypt with a guide such as the French Arabist and political scientist Gilles Kepel. From the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1920s to the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat in 1981, he describes and explains the ideas, the leadership, the organizations and the gathering of popular support, against the background of the conditions of the time, the nature of the appeal and the "fanaticism" it induced, and the varying pattern of official persecution and toleration during the regimes of Nasser and Sadat. The original French version was published in 1984. To this translation the author has added an "afterword" covering the years 1981-85, during which the movement has apparently lost momentum but remains explosive and unpredictable.