"They're Egypt's evangelicals."
False. While it is certainly true that Muslim Brothers, like America's Christian evangelicals, are religious people, the Brotherhood's religiosity isn't its most salient feature. Whereas Christian evangelicals (as well as devout Catholics, orthodox Jews, committed Hindus, and so on) are primarily defined by their piety, the Muslim Brotherhood is first and foremost a political organization -- a power-seeking entity that uses religion as a mobilizing tool. As a result, the political diversity within the evangelical community, including its quietist trend, cannot exist within the Muslim Brotherhood, which strives for political uniformity among its hundreds of thousands of members.
The Brotherhood achieves this internal uniformity by subjecting its members to a rigorous five- to eight-year process of internal promotion, during which time a rising Muslim Brother ascends through four membership ranks before finally becoming a full-fledged "active brother." At each level, Brothers are tested on their completion of a standardized Brotherhood curriculum, which emphasizes rote memorization of the Quran as well as the teachings of Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna and radical Brotherhood theorist Sayyid Qutb. Rising Muslim Brothers are also vetted for their willingness to follow the leadership's orders, and Muslim Brothers ultimately take an oath to "listen and obey" to the organization's edicts.
The Brotherhood's 20-member executive Guidance Office, meanwhile, deploys its well-indoctrinated foot soldiers for maximum political effect. The movement's pyramid-shaped hierarchy quickly disseminates directives down to thousands of five- to 20-member "families" -- local Brotherhood cells spread throughout Egypt. These "families" execute the top leaders' orders, which may include providing local social services, organizing mass demonstrations, mobilizing voters for political campaigns, or more grimly, coordinating violent assaults on anti-Brotherhood protesters.
By channeling deeply committed members through an institutionalized chain of command, the Brotherhood has discovered the key ingredients for winning elections in a country where practically everyone else is deeply divided. For this reason, it is extremely protective of its internal unity: Its current leaders have largely dodged ideological questions -- such as explaining what "instituting the sharia [Islamic law]" means in practice -- to prevent fissures from emerging.
The Brotherhood has further maintained internal unity by banishing anyone who disagrees with its strategy. It excommunicated a former top official, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, when he declared his presidential candidacy in mid-2011 despite the Brotherhood's policy at the time against nominating a presidential candidate -- and even after the Brotherhood reversed its own decision, Aboul Fotouh remained persona non grata. It similarly ousted top Brotherhood youths who opposed the establishment of a single Brotherhood party and called on the Brotherhood to remain politically neutral.
To be sure, the Brotherhood's long-term vision is religious: It calls for "instituting God's sharia and developing the Islamic nation's renaissance on the basis of Islam." But the Brotherhood views itself the key vehicle for achieving this vision, which is why it places such a priority on protecting its organizational strength and internal unity. Indeed, far from approximating a devout religious group akin to evangelical Christians, the Muslim Brotherhood's disciplined pursuit of power -- which includes indoctrinating members and using force against detractors -- makes it most similar to Russia's Bolsheviks.
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