In order to better understand the Muslim Brotherhood's role in contemporary Egyptian politics, this paper studies how the Brotherhood's development has been shaped by interaction with the strong secular state and the changing political environment. By examining how social movements develop in authoritarian states, this paper demonstrates the effects of threat and political opportunity environments on the Muslim Brotherhood. The use of escalating state repression caused some elements of the Muslim Brotherhood to splinter off and form violent extremist organizations, while enabling political participation through increased institutional access and participation in competitive elections caused the mainstream Muslim Brotherhood to moderate and work toward democratic reform within the system.
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