Don't kid yourself. Long before the Jan. 25 revolution that ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, many academics and policymakers argued that his main adversary -- the Muslim Brotherhood -- had made its peace with democracy. This was based on the assumption that, since the Muslim Brotherhood participated in virtually every election under Mubarak, it was committed to the rule of the people as a matter of principle.
It was also based on what typically sympathetic Western researchers heard from Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and what I heard as well. "Democracy is shura," Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater told me during a March 2011 interview, referring to the Islamic jurisprudential tool of "consultation." The implication was that the Brotherhood accepted a political system that encouraged open debate.
Yet since the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsy, was elected president in June, the exact opposite has been true