Know your authors: Tarek Osman’s pieces of writings

Tarek Osman is one of the famous writers of the Middle East region and is an author of Islam. A History of Political Islam from the Fall of the Ottoman Empire to the Rise of ISIS and Egypt on the Brink.

Tarek Osman is one of the famous writers of the Middle East region and is an author of Islam. A History of Political Islam from the Fall of the Ottoman Empire to the Rise of ISIS and Egypt on the Brink.

Apart from this, he wrote and presented several BBC documentary series, including – “The Making of the Modern Arab World” and “Islam Divided: Sunni-Shia.”

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Below are some shreds of writings of Osman: 

  • The civic, secular, nationalist frame of reference (devoid of any religious underpinnings) would face immense challenges in today’s highly religious Egyptian society. 
  • At that time – a grand Arabic project emanating from Cairo had credibility. That is not true today. The relative standing of Egyptians – the country, the people and the culture- in the Arabic milieu has significantly declined. The major socio-economic problems that ordinary Egyptians have struggled with for 35 years have exacted their price on the nation’s – living standards, income levels, educational quality, and on the people’s skills, aptitudes, behaviours as well as attitudes. Such deterioration was taking place while several Arab nations, especially in the Gulf – (but also in Levant), were improving their indices in all these areas.
  • Unlike political Islamism – the Arab nationalism has no major following on Egyptian streets. Unlike liberal capitalism, it lacks the resources & the might of the nation’s ultra-rich to impose itself on society. Nasserite Arab nationalism failed to reinvent itself could well become irrelevant as a result of the impending fight between political Islamism and liberal capitalism over the hearts and minds of young Egyptians.
  • But the society became characterized by a – unique mix of Sunni theology and Shi’ite social traditions. Al-Azhar evolved & consolidated its unique status; & the people continued to honour the Prophet Mohamed’s descendants – (in numerous cases ascribing to them powers of divine & spiritual intercession), to celebrate Al-Mwaled & to embrace various Shi’ite traditions; even today, the nation’s social calendar is dominated by the festivals and observances of clear Shi’ite origin.3 This Sunni–Shi’ite mix made Egypt both the hostile ground & a natural target for Wahhabism.

 

Tariq Saeed

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