Following the Victory of Iran’s Islamic revolution in 1979 and the murder of Egypt’s President Anwar al-Sadat in 1981, many studies were undertaken and published on radical Islamic fundamentalist movements in the Middle East. Given these events, that research stressed the importance of such groups, focus-ing on reasons for their rise and possible future success.
During the following decade, however, Islamic fundamentalist movements did not come to power in any country. Furthermore, they failed to show the kind of growth in power, size or influence which many observers had expected. Consequently, it is necessary to analyze why the fundamentalists have not done better.
This study deals with Egypt, the most important country in the Arab world. Certainly, Egypt had many problems in the 1980s which might conceivably have strengthened radical Islamic groups, whose apparent assets seemed to include a long-established Muslim Brotherhood and a revolutionary underground capable of murdering the country’s ruler. This book considers why other, contrary, factors remained uppermost in Egyptian politics.
The book began as a research project for the Orkand Corporation. Raymond Stock did a massive amount of translation with admirable speed and accuracy. Dr Ami Ayalon and Professor Jerrold Green read the manuscript and made ex-tremely helpful suggestions. Enthusiastic support from Simon Winder is also acknowledged with pleasure.