Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is suffering from an identity crisis, made worse by ongoing, violent state repression. Nearly a century since its founding, the Brotherhood hasn’t reconciled its social and political aims.

Noha Khaled plumbs the first of three crises besetting the Brotherhood: its internal identity conflict over what kind of organization it aspires to be.

Throughout its history, the Brotherhood has struggled to accommodate its mission as a religious and social service network, alongside its ambitions for political power. That ambivalence, or contradiction, forms the cornerstone of the Brotherhood’s ongoing triple crisis.

This is the third episode of Broken Bonds, a five-part special season of the Order From Ashes podcast. The first episode charted Abdelrahman Ayyash’s personal coming of age in a Brotherhood milieu. In the second episode, Ayyash, Khaled, and Amr ElAfifi mapped how the crises of identity, legitimacy, and membership simultaneously explain the organization’s weaknesses and its staying power. The remaining episodes of Broken Bonds go deeper into the crises of legitimacy and membership, 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.


  • Noha Khaled, writer and researcher
  • Thanassis Cambanis, director, Century International