In Egypt, Salafis are now a vocal and powerful part of the political process.
Nader Bakkar, a young engineer, is the spokesman for Egypt’s most successful Salafi political party, Nour. He insists their ideology is not backward-looking.
“It’s not a thing that conflicts with civilization or modern society, not at all,” Bakkar says.
He sits in a hotel lobby. Nearby, men drink beer and women sit unveiled. It certainly isn’t the vision of Egypt that Nour has in mind.
Bakkar says the closest thing to a Salafi-run state is Saudi Arabia, a nation where women can’t drive and have few rights, and where people live in a gender-segregated society. It is also a nation with strong ties to the West.