The Muslim Brotherhood tries to project an image of grassroots power and disciplined leadership. A trio of researchers takes a different view, describing a once-formidable organization that is under strain and out of touch.

The Brotherhood, they argue, is experiencing multiple crises—of identity, legitimacy, and membership—which accelerated after Egypt’s military coup in July 2013.

Based on unprecedented access to Brotherhood leaders, rank-and-file members, and internal dissenters, the three researchers—Abdelrahman Ayyash, Amr ElAfifi, and Noha Khaled—take a new granular view of the organization.

The Brotherhood and its detractors alike have misunderstood it as a mass ideological organization, missing its evolution into an elite membership organization disconnected from its constituents.

This is the second episode of Broken Bonds, a five-part special season of the Order From Ashes podcast. The first episode charted Ayyash’s personal coming of age in a Brotherhood milieu. Remaining episodes of Broken Bonds go deeper into each of the three crises facing the Brotherhood and the implications for policy.

Broken Bonds explores the evolution of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood from the apex of its power, when it won Egypt’s presidency in 2012, to the organization’s disarray and marginalization today.

The podcast season is a companion to a new book, Broken Bonds: The Existential Crisis of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, 2013–22, published in February 2023 by TCF Press. Broken Bonds is part of “Faith and Fracture,” a TCF project supported by the Henry Luce Foundation.


  • Abdelrahman Ayyash, fellow, Century International
  • Amr ElAfifi, PhD candidate at Syracuse University; research manager, Freedom Initiative
  • Noha Khaled, writer and researcher
  • Thanassis Cambanis, director, Century International