This is not to say that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, for instance, should be seen as “moderate” (an endless, if somewhat futile, debate). There’s little reason to believe that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is less keen to protest offenses to the Prophet or to create a more Islamic society now than they were six years ago. Their ideology hasn’t much changed, nor their membership, nor their willingness to take offense at perceived slights. But their interests have changed and they found themselves forced to adapt when their initial instincts backfired. As president, Mohamed Morsi has to worry about Egypt’s international alliances and reputation, not least with the United States. As the leading political party in the country, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party needs to worry about how it is perceived in the country at large, and about competition for conservative votes from Salafi rivals. Their initial instincts were to jump on the protest bandwagon, but they were quickly forced to adapt when confronted with political and structural pressures from at home and abroad. And so they call for legal measures against blasphemy and for peaceful protests but denounce violence, make the necessary apologies, and seek to tar their Islamist rivals as irrational extremists.

Marc Lynch, The failure of #MuslimRage

Or, as Wadah Khanfar once said to me: “Political Islam is more political than it is Islamic.”

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