The official announcement was made today that Dr. Mohamad Morsi has been elected President of Egypt, in that country's first free election. Dr. Morsi, an American-educated engineer, was a candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood's "Freedom and Justice Party." The victory was by a small margin (51.7% to 48.3%) over Ahmed Shafik, who served as Prime Minister under Hosni Mobarak and was aligned with the military. (Check the latest news from CNN and Al-Jazeera.)
While many people relate the Muslim Brotherhood with violence, this reputation is out-dated. According to About.com's Guide to Terrorism Issues, the Muslim Brotherhood renounced violence in the 1970s and is not part of any terrorism watch list. They embrace democracy, are active in social welfare programs, and in recent years have held up to 1/5 of the seats in Egypt's parliament. While they promote Islamic teachings, they are considered moderate in their views among "Islamist" political organizations. And they are not alone in believing that Islam can be compatible with democracy and constitutional rule. In this 2007 paper, Dr. John O. Voll of Georgetown University explains.
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