But in the post–Hosni Mubarak season of religious and political expression, things have gotten a little more interesting. “Dear God, please take revenge against the Shi’ites and the Jews,” calls the voice of Fawzy Said, the fundamentalist imam who took over after the revolution, to the hundreds of worshippers who now spill out of the mosque onto green rugs spread across the sidewalk and the pavement of a nearby gas station. “Please punish the invaders and send someone to them who can cut off their heads.”

Gulp, say the liberals and secularists who helped lead the February revolution that toppled Mubarak’s 30-year reign. Many now fear that at least some of their newfound freedoms may be backfiring. The Islamists want to take over Egypt and impose their will on the population, some warn…

But if the revolution has had an uncomfortable lesson for Egypt’s discordant and inexperienced liberals, it has the same catch for the Islamists: with free expression comes diversity, and not everyone is going to agree. The country’s largest Islamist bloc, the Muslim Brotherhood, has begun to fracture in recent weeks. A number of the group’s most politically active youth, who joined in the winter protests in Tahrir Square, have broken off to form their own more inclusive party, the Egyptian Current Party. A popular, longtime member of the group’s older leadership, Abdel Mineem Abu al-Fotouh, was expelled after violating the group’s pledge that it wouldn’t field a presidential candidate. (In the past month, al-Fotouh has forged ahead anyway with campaign events, a website, and populist rhetoric.) Even the Salafis — while able to mobilize hundreds for protests against people who they accuse of insulting their religion — have yet to convene around a single political ideology or party.