Islamist movements are the main beneficiaries from the popular revolutions sweeping the Arab world, but while their differences with the West have been reduced, according to Khartoum University's political science professor, Dr Tayeb Zein El Abideen, the main source of tension – the Arab-Israeli conflict – still exists.
In an interview with Quds Press, Zein El Abideen said, "I think that these popular revolutions, the dynamics of which I have seen in Tunisia and Egypt, are political dynamics in the favour of the Islamist movements because they were banned and have been the targets of the most severe repression in most Arab countries. When Islamist movements were allowed to take part in Egypt's parliamentary elections, they obtained 80 seats, a number that was not achieved by legally-recognized political parties, because the Islamist movements represent the … masses. Therefore, I believe that Islamist movements will benefit immensely from these revolutions, and such movements should defend freedom everywhere."
Zein El Abideen pointed to the role of Islamist movements in supporting the popular revolutions, including those that have succeeded – in Tunisia and Egypt, as well as the other uprisings that are clear and visible. "In the models that succeeded in toppling the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, Islamist movements participated through their youth. I can't say for sure that they constituted the main vanguards of the revolutions, but I have definite information that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt played a major role in supporting this popular revolution, protecting Tahrir Square's entries and exits, forming popular committees to protect neighbourhoods, and providing food. All of this was due to one factor; that they were better organized than others. The Muslim Brotherhood supported the crucial decision to raise slogans that were accepted by all factions. And I have information that it was not the Muslim Brotherhood that invited Dr Qaradawi to pray in Tahrir Square; others invited him and when he came, the Muslim Brotherhood welcomed him," Zein El Abideen said.