The struggle for Salafism in Egypt’s post-revolutionary period

Salafism was the religious idiom that dominated Egypt’s aborted political transition in the wake of the 2011 revolution and up to the 2013 military coup. The leading political actors of the moment all mobilized strands of Salafism in a fight for religious legitimacy against each other: the Salafi Call and its political party al-Nour (itself internally divided), Hazim Abu Isma’il and his movement of revolutionary Salafis, and even the Muslim Brotherhood, which now openly borrowed from Salafi references and relied on Salafi religious figures, despite the movement’s distinctive political-religious history. That reality stood in staunch contrast with the aspirations of Egypt’s more secular-leaning youth protest movements, which had played a key role in the initial uprising. How did this hegemonization of Salafi discourse in the Egyptian religious sphere come to be? And how do the resulting dynamics explain some of the Egyptian political transition’s eventual shortcomings?”

Biography: “Stéphane Lacroix is an associate professor of political science at Sciences Po, a senior researcher at Sciences Po’s Centre de Recherches Internationales (CERI) and the co-director of Sciences Po’s Chair on religion. His work deals with religion and politics, with a focus on the Gulf and Egypt. He is the author of “Awakening Islam: The Politics of Religious Dissent in Contemporary Saudi Arabia” (Harvard University Press, 2011), “Saudi Arabia in Transition: Insights on Social, Political, Economic and Religious Change” (Cambridge University Press, 2015, with Bernard Haykel and Thomas Hegghammer), “Egypt’s Revolutions: Politics, Religion, Social Movements” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, with Bernard Rougier) and “Revisiting the Arab Uprisings: The Politics of a Revolutionary Moment” (Oxford University Press, 2018, with Jean-Pierre Filiu)”.