Feb 24, 2011

Why Egypt is so important to Afghanistan?

I have been following the Egyptian uprising closely, and besides blogging I have been tweeting constantly. One would ask why I am so curious and care about Egyptian events, which have seemingly nothing to do with my country.

Well, the answer can be anything, particularly including the fact that Egypt is influential on regional level and, more importantly, in Muslim world. It is not clear yet whether these upheavals will put Egypt in a crisis or lead to a prosperous situation However, in any case, changes in Egypt will impact the Muslim world in general and Afghanistan in particular.

According to the BBC, since the 1950s, Afghanistan and Egypt have had a long cultural relationship; there has been a formal educational exchange contract between the countries. Since that time, thousands of Afghan students have been sent to Al Azhar University to learn religious subjects.

The most obvious impact of Egypt is the birth of the Afghan Muslim Brotherhood party, which was founded by those students who had studied in Egypt in 1950s. They were inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Today, there are more than 250 Afghan students at Al Azhar University. Ironically, the Afghan government did not pull out these students during Egyptian uprising, though every other foreigner from around the world was pulled out by their governments.

More importantly, the Afghanistan constitution is mostly based on the Egyptian constitution and Egyptian thinkers have been very influential among Afghans. Finally, the most striking impact of Egyptian upheavals on Afghanistan would be the weakening of Islamic fundamentalism because it originated in Egypt and it would fade there. Afghanistan has not been the source of any Islamic fundamentalism movements, but of course it has been a place in which extreme movements could easily grow and wrack and ruin the country very easily.


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