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Explaining The Global Religious Revival: The Egyptian Case

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the world of Islam, and on the Arab countries, and particularly on Egypt. In Egypt Islamic tradition has always been central to the life of most of its inhabitants, albeit in different ways in different classes. In that sense the term 'revival' may not be appropriate here. The state has sought to use Islamic piety for its own purposes, and different oppositional groups have reinterpreted it for theirs. The discursive tradition has enabled various responses to changing perceptions of threat and reassurance both within the nation-state and beyond. The suggestion of people like Thomas Friedman that Egypt's difficulties create a general state of pathological despair that then leads to 'Islamism' is surely disingenuous. Although the U.S. is not directly responsible for the political-economic problems encountered in Egypt, its intervention does have something to do with them, and therefore with the ways Egyptians construct their religion.

Keywords: Arab countries; Egypt Islamic tradition; Egyptians; global religious revival; Islamism; Thomas Friedman



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