For Egypt’s most conservative Islamists, the country’s first competitive presidential election has been a test of their political savvy as they try to plant the seeds for turning Egypt into an Islamic state.
The Salafis, known for their no-compromise, literal interpretation of the faith, are political newcomers. They long concentrated on preaching and many of them shunned involvement in politics, believing it would require sinful concessions. Some of their clerics even said Western-style democracy itself is dangerous since it could override God’s rule and laws.
But in the landmark presidential vote, Egypt’s Salafis tested the waters of electoral maneuvering as they tried to choose which of two main Islamist candidates to back.
They experienced fissures and struggled to coalesce, but are still having a strong impact.