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The Arab National Project in Youssef Chahine's Cinema$
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Malek Khouri

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789774163548

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774163548.001.0001

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Religious Fundamentalism and the Power of History

Religious Fundamentalism and the Power of History

(p.167) 9 Religious Fundamentalism and the Power of History
The Arab National Project in Youssef Chahine's Cinema

Malek Khouri

American University in Cairo Press

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

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