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Thu July 11, 2013
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Mid-State Professor: Unrest in Egypt Not Unexpected

Dr. Sean Foley, MTSU
Dr. Sean Foley, MTSU
Credit mtsu.edu

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  -- A mid-state professor who specializes in political and social movements in the Islamic world says the failure last week of Egypt’s democratically elected government is not unexpected.

Dr. Sean Foley is an associate professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University. He spoke to WMOT News from Saudia Arabia where he's working on a new book about the Kingdom.

Earlier this year, Foley predicted the Morsi government would likely fail, in part because - in spite of historic elections there - the people actually running the country remain largely the same.

Foley also believes that, before Egypt can move forward, a way to bind together a deeply fractured society will have to be found.

“The basic question isn’t necessarily about democracy; it’s finding a vision of Egypt and a vision of society in which everybody – all Egyptians – can feel that they have a stake and a part in.”

Foley also says that even a strong government will find it difficult to address the enormous economic, environmental, and social challenges Egypt faces.

“Anybody in charge would have those problems. And they were confounded by a series of mistakes both made by the previous government under Mubarak, by the military administration, and then by (President) Morsi himself.”

Foley says it will take what he calls a “very long time” for Egypt to chart a new course.

Whatever happens in Egypt will be followed closely here in Tennessee. Foley notes that the mid-state is home  to about 12,000 Egyptian immigrants, one of the largest such communities in the U.S.