Following the Egyptian Protest is now as easy as checking your Twitter feed (or your Facebook account), but for deep background reading on how and why the current situation evolved--and where it might be headed--we suggest a trio of critical and insightful works to give you the back story:
Asef Bayat's MAKING ISLAM DEMOCRATIC: Social Movements and the Post-Islamist Turn examines in detail those social organizations (student, women, and youth groups) and movements that have used religion to unleash social and political change, either to legitimize authoritarian rule or, in contrast, to construct an inclusive faith that embraces a democratic polity. Bayat provides a fresh analysis of how Iran's revolution has evolved into the pervasive, post-Islamist reform movement of the early twenty-first century, which in turn offers a fascinating lens through which to view the contemporary and current situations in Egypt. He picks up this theme of the importance of social movements in LIFE AS POLITICS: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East. For a direct application of these themes to the current crisis, read his latest post in Foreign Policy, A New Arab Street in Post-Islamist Times.
Wondering about the future of Egypt? Might change bring about democracy, tolerance, and pluralism? In THE CHALLENGE OF POLITICAL ISLAM: Non-Muslims and the Egyptian State, Rachel M. Scott looks at the Muslim Brotherhood and the Coptic Christian community to see how/whether non-Muslims are integrated as citizens. While the Muslim Brotherhood, members of which Scott interviewed extensively, hasn't taken a lead in these protests, their positions and voices on democracy and pluralism--including a vision of Islamic citizenship more inclusive of non-Muslims--are worth considering.