Comparative Study of the Nation of Islam in the United States and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt

Islam, has been used for a variety of political purposes. For example, in Saudi Arabia it legitimizes the rule of the Saudi royal family, in Iran it constitutes the state as the republic, while in Egypt its more moderate proponents currently challenge the authoritarian state. Political activism based on Islam, or what we in this class call Islamism, is sometimes based on elaborate programs like that of Hasan al-Banna and Sayyed Qutb in Egypt, Abdul Ala Maududi in Pakistan, or Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran. Other times, as in the case of Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia or Islamists in Turkey, Islamist activists have no such elaborate programs. Finally, political agendas of the Islamists change over time in response to actual political, economic, and social conditions and according to individual leaders who happen to be at their helm.

In the research paper you are asked to compare the Nation of Islam, a Muslim organization that originated in the United States and one of the two (most prominent) Islamist organizations in Egypt  the Muslim Brotherhood or the Muslim Society. In so doing you should compare and contrast respective political purposes and programs of each of the two organizations by focusing on specific time period. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Nation of Islam in the 1960s or the Nation of Islam today and the Muslim Society in the 1970s.

Specifically you should be looking at the following questions for each of the two organizations that you examine:

What is its relationship to the state?
What is its relationship to religion (and the introduction of Shari law, for example)?
What is its relationship to the type of rule (or governing)?
Is this organization advocating a revolutionary change?
Does it have a strategy for bringing about this change?
Is racism an issue for either of the two Egyptian organizations? Why it is or it isn t?
How have political, economic, and social conditions influenced the formation of this organization and its political program?
How has leadership of this organization influenced its program and activities?