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VOL. IX, Issue 1

Straight From the Horse’s Mouth Exploring De-radicalization Claims of Former Egyptian Militant Leaders

Towards the end of the 1990s, leading figures from two of Egypt’s most prominent Islamist militant movements began releasing a series of documents that expressed seeming ideological revisions, culminating in a reevaluation of perspectives and a cessation of violence. Conventional wisdom since the publication of these revisions maintains that the groups have “deradicalized”.[1] In the aftermath of the January 25th, 2011 Egyptian revolution, many of these re-visionary authors were released from jail, and appeared on national television for the first time. Analyzing select interviews of these authors, as well as content from their re-visionist writings, this article re-examines the conventional wisdom of deradicalization. Contrary to previous findings that deradicalization has indeed occurred, it is argued that there is little evidence of real ideological deradicalization. Indeed, two of the four examples cited provide evidence of significant ideological recidivism as measured by both implicit and explicit calls to violence.

About ICCT

The International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) is a think-and-do tank based in The Hague, Netherlands. We provide research, policy advice, training and other solutions to support better counter-terrorism policies and practices worldwide. We also contribute to the scientific and publi.…