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The Birth of the Muslim Brotherhood

By Jay Winter, Los Angeles Times - March 14, 2011

To understand the Muslim Brotherhood, and to assess its role today in a shifting Middle East, it is necessary to first examine the forces that led to the organization's birth. And that takes us back to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

The Ottoman Empire had been, before World War I, the strongest and most visible face of Islam in the world. At its height in the 16th and 17th centuries, it controlled a vast swath of territory that extended from southeastern Europe into Asia and northern Africa.

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