The toppling of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi may give rise to more radical Islamic factions in the political realm and more violent groups outside of it.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Ansar al-Shariah in Egypt has formed after “calling the army’s ousting of President Mohamed Mursi a declaration of war on its faith.” The group “said it would gather arms and start training its members” and is “threatening to use violence to impose Islamic law.”
The Times also notes that intelligence experts may fear that the army’s ousting of Morsi will compel Islamists to “desert officially-recognized groups like Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and move to more militant movements.”
The group is reportedly “run mainly by former members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), a terrorist organization headed by Ayman al Zawahiri that merged with al Qaeda.”
In the political realm, the ultraconservative Nour Party and other Salafi parties will be expected “to advance their agendas against a revival of secular and moderate voices rising from an opposition backed by the army.”
Reuters notes that these groups, which joined with progressive Islamists last year, “may be less inclined this time around to stifle aims of bringing the purest form of Islam into the politics of a country whose population is 90% Muslim.” This is especially true because “Islamists across the region are outraged over the fall of the Brotherhood and the arrest of its leaders by an army they condemn for deposing Egypt’s first freely elected president.”