Straight From the Horse’s Mouth: Exploring Deradicalization Claims of Former Egyptian Militant Leaders

Dina Al Raffie


Towards the end of the 1990s, leading figures from two of Egypt’s most prominent Islamist militant movements began releasing a series of documents that expressed seeming ideological revisions, culminating in a re-evaluation of perspectives and a cessation of violence. Conventional wisdom since the publication of these revisions maintains that the groups have “deradicalized”.[1] In the aftermath of the January 25th, 2011 Egyptian revolution, many of these re-visionary authors were released from jail, and appeared on national television for the first time. Analyzing select interviews of these authors, as well as content from their re-visionist writings, this article re-examines the conventional wisdom of deradicalization. Contrary to previous findings that deradicalization has indeed occurred, it is argued that there is little evidence of real ideological deradicalization. Indeed, two of the four examples cited provide evidence of significant ideological recidivism as measured by both implict and explicit calls to violence. 

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Perspectives on Terrorism is  a journal of the Terrorism Research Initiative and the Center for Terrorism and Security Studies

ISSN  2334-3745 (Online)

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