After giving journalists wide latitude during the last elections in 2005, Egypt is now squelching press freedom and even requiring a permit to send mass text messages.
A year after Barack Obama's famous Cairo speech, failure to make headway in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become a focal point for disappointment among Muslims. Sixty percent of Arabs say he's too weak to deliver a peace agreement.
Al Azhar’s edicts were once heeded from Morocco to Indonesia, but the Cairo institution has lost clout as TV imams are reaching larger audiences and Egypt’s President Mubarak has taken greater control. That's a problem for the regime as it braces for its biggest political transition in nearly 30 years.
Ahmed el-Tayeb, who holds a PhD in Islamic philosophy from the Sorbonne, is expected to be a better face for Egypt's Al Azhar University, which was once preeminent in the Sunni world.