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The 2007 Undergraduate Fellows Project focused on the role of religious advocacy groups in United States politics. Fellows collected data on key...


Todd Wintner

Todd Wintner graduated from Georgetown's School of Foreign Service in 2007. He worked as an Undergraduate Fellow in 2007, participated in the Junior Year Abroad Network during his studies in Cairo and Tanzania, and served as a research assistant.

Todd Wintner on Reform and Conservative Elements in Egypt

December 1, 2006

A previous letter described the looming identity crisis evolving within Egyptian society as it struggles to overcome both internal and external social frictions threatening the state's fragile stability. Moreover, it sought to explain how an increased identification with Islamic institutions has played a pivotal role in healing this void of identity, albeit in a manner threatening both to the nation's history of religious pluralism and, in some cases, to its slow progression towards democracy. Admittedly, this implication of a polarizing society oversimplifies what is, in reality, an incredibly complex pattern of interweaving relationships between various social movements with overlapping agendas all unfolding on top of each other, quite literally, on the streets of Cairo.

Todd Wintner on Pluralism and Identity Issues in Egypt

October 1, 2006

It has been over fifty years since Nasser first attempted to forge a cohesive Egyptian identity under the banner of “Arab Nationalism.” Today, the Egyptian people continue their struggle to address the issue of pluralism and its implications for the Egyptian state. A short conversation with a taxi driver or afternoon walk through Coptic Cairo is all a foreigner needs to become conscious of the legitimation crisis looming alongside the state’s delicate policies for addressing diversity. As dissatisfaction with the current regime continues to bubble under the surface of autocratic rule, it has become increasingly clear that the state will need to seek a new vision of Egyptian identity, ideally one that incorporates both Eygpt’s strong Islamic influence and the nation’s history of religious pluralism. As long as the state fails to address this growing social crisis, the door remains wide open for others, namely the Muslim Brotherhood, to enter the political arena with their own redefinition of the Egyptian identity—one that likely will come about at the expense of religious tolerance and any chance for future democratization.