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The Islamization of Knowledge in the New Egypt

August 15th, 2012 - 11:33 am

Well, when you’ve got totalitarian ambitions, and you’ve already started locking up dissenting journalists, what’s the next logical step? If you’re the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, newly minted president of Egypt, it is obvious: start banning books.

Morsi’s government has reportedly banned importation of A History of the Modern Middle East, a well-known textbook by William L. Cleveland (who died in 2006) and Martin P. Bunton. The Egyptian daily, Al-Ahram, says no reason was given for the ban. The reason, however, is patent to anyone familiar with the Muslim Brotherhood.

One of the highest Brotherhood priorities is the “Islamization of knowledge.” That, as I’ve noted elsewhere, is the explicit purpose of the International Institute of Islamic Thought, a think-tank in Virginia that the Brotherhood founded in the early 1980s. IIIT’s mission is to forge “a new synthesis of all knowledge in an Islamic epistemological framework” — to borrow the fitting description found in an important 2009 study, “The Muslim Brotherhood in the United States,” written by Steven Merley for the Hudson Institute’s Center on Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World.

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