Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood senior members, including Khairat al-Shater (top left), gesture from the defendants' cage at the Egyptian Police Academy on the outskirts of Cairo on June 2, 2015. Their trial took place along with ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi (unseen). Morsi was sentenced to death along with dozens more over a mass jailbreak during the 2011 Arab Spring uprising.
(KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)
As a staunch advocate of political Islam, the Muslim Brotherhood has played a prominent part in society and politics throughout the Sunni Arab world for more than 90 years. Formed by conservative Muslim thinker and teacher Hassan al-Banna in 1928, the organization's Egyptian branch continues to be the most pronounced, but the Brotherhood's reach stretches across the Middle East and beyond. The group has inspired (or aligned with) the thinking of countless other Islamist groups across the Muslim world that oppose Westernization and secularization to some degree.
While many of these groups have a clear link to the original Egyptian Brotherhood, others do not. It is important to remember that the Brotherhood and other Islamist groups did not develop in a vacuum -- they emerged from, and seek to represent, the segments of society that support a revivalist Islamic tradition. The Brotherhood's message does not always resonate with more progressive establishments,...