Thursday, June 8, 2017

"Social and cultural institutions

were also subjected to state control. Two important cases included the Islamic institutions of al-Azhar in Egypt and Zaytuna in Tunisia. The first was used by the Egyptian regime to bolster the regime's legitimacy and power vis-a-vis Islamist movements. Nasser ensured that al-Azhar became part of the state by placing it under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Endowments. The president nominated the grand shaykh of al-Azhar, who subsequently became beholden to the Egyptian president for his appointment.
fn 63. Malika Zeghal, "Al Azhar and Radical Islam." International Journal of Middle East Studies, 31, 1 (2000), pp. 3-22.
Al Zaytouna were also marginalized due to the secularizing thrust of the presidencies of Bourguiba and Ben Ali. Under both rulers, Zaytuna morphed into a small institution of higher education, completely separated from the Zaytuna mosque and placed under the tight grip of the authoritarian state. Moreover, similarly to al-Azhar in Egypt, it was barred from playing any political role, even in the service of the authoritarian leader.
fn. 64. Malika Zeghal, "Teaching Again at the Zaytuna Mosque in Tunisia," On Islam and Politics: http://onislamandpolitics.wordpress.com/tag/bourguiba/

-Nadine Sika, "The Arab State and Social Contestation," in Beyond the Arab Spring: The Evolving Ruling Bargain in the Middle East, ed. Mehran Kamrava, (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 89-90.