Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
He avoids being seen. His communication strategy consists of describing himself as an “anonymous servant of the great people” while allowing others to portray him as a hero or even a savior: “Don’t elect somebody who aspires to it” or “The army should not be in the front lines.” He meets with a large number of journalists, colleagues, and leaders, but he rarely opens up. Does this reveal his classical Muslim education or is it the product of a carefully considered political choice? Probably a bit of both. What are his political views? He is said to be religious and to know the Quran by heart, having won prizes for recitations of the holy text. This diagnosis has never changed—the man works, goes jogging, and prays. As for the rest, two competing narratives coexist. The first narrative indicates that he is an Islamist and was the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) man inside the armed forces; the thesis that he wrote during his study tour in the United States is said to prove that he is at least culturally a religious conservative. According to the second narrative, he was supposedly once a member of the young Nasserists and remains close to their political views. His favorite author—and one of his advisers—is Mohammed Hasanayn Haykal, Nasser’s former confidant. A synthesis seems possible that suggests that, like many Nasserists of his generation, he is much more attached to highly visible markers of religiosity.
KeywordsPolitical View Military Academy Muslim Brotherhood Religious Conservative Anonymous Servant
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