Egypt and Secularism

The term ‘secular’ and its conceptual affiliates are doing a lot of work in misrepresenting the uprising in Egypt. ‘Secular’ politics has been taken to mean ‘good’ politics (limited democratization, stability, and support for the peace treaty with Israel), and ‘Islamic’ politics is being translated as ‘bad’ politics (the myriad dangers allegedly posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies). Accounts of the current situation in Egypt are handicapped by an inability to read politics in Egypt and Muslim-majority societies outside of this overly simplistic and politically distorting lens.

This is the opening paragraph of an insightful essay posted today by Elizabeth Shakman Hurd on the The Immanent Frame, entitled Myths of Mubarak.  Meanwhile, the  Wall Street Journal has an article from 1 February describing the ancient Coptic Christian community’s fear that an overthrow of Mubarak could lead to more intense persecution.

All of this to say, things aren’t nearly as simple as the American news media seems to think they are.


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