Religious Fundamentalism and the Power of History

Malek Khouri

in The Arab National Project in Youssef Chahine's Cinema

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9789774163548
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781617970153 | DOI:
Religious Fundamentalism and the Power of History

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Arab intellectuals begam voicing their opposition to the extremist religious agenda as fundamentalism gathered momentum. Islamic fundamentalism had a direct effect on intellectual and cultural life in the film production center of the Arab world—Egypt. The development of Islamic fundamentalism in the early and mid-twentieth century ran parallel to attempts to establish a modernist united secular state in the Arab world. Filmmakers in Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria in particular presented strong cinematic polemics against fundamentalist practices and ideology. Chahine's Destiny marked a major attempt to counter the rise of religious fundamentalism. The film's plot reclaims the philosopher's story via a self-reflexive rendering of historical dichotomies between conservative forces and ideas and proponents of intellectual and social progress. The film concomitantly makes a statement against dogmatic religious repression in contemporary Arab and Muslim societies.

Keywords: fundamentalism; Tunisia; ideology; dichotomies; progress

Chapter.  6700 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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