THE CASE OF ABU ZAID AND THE REACTIONS IT PROMPTED FROM EGYPTIAN SOCIETY
Loza, Pierre Roshdy
Pierre Roshdy Loza, BSMALS Mentor: Paul Heck, Ph.D.ABSTRACTThis thesis aims to explore Egypt's reaction to scholar Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid during the mid-nineties when his promotion was denied and marriage annulled via court ruling vis-à-vis the period around 2010 when he began frequenting Egypt and appearing on television prior to his death. In the first chapter, the thesis will discuss Egypt's climate in the mid-nineties, its academic legal framework, and how Abu Zaid's case fit into this overall landscape. Egypt's volatility at that time created an inauspicious atmosphere for Abu Zaid to present or debate his research findings. Secondly, the thesis will focus in two separate chapters on the two works that sparked Abu Zaid's predicament, first Imam Shafie and the Establishment of the Moderate Ideology and second A Critique of Religious Discourse, while also examining their implications and the reactions they provoke.The next two chapters explore reactions to Abu Zaid during the mid-nineties, followed by a look at the period around 2010 prior to the scholar's death. The first part of this exploration will focus specifically on the reactions of Abu Zaid's supporters and detractors and their underlying implications. The following chapter will examine the period around 2010 when Abu Zaid seemed to enjoy greater acceptance from Egyptian society. The reactions of supporters and detractors that resulted following Abu Zaid's death in 2010 will be explored in the final chapter which introduces the thesis conclusion. The conclusion will attempt to respond to the thesis argument that Egypt's reaction to Abu Zaid witnessed a slight improvement in 2010 vis-à-vis the much bleaker mid-nineties reaction, and how this reflects the nation's willingness to engage reformist voices of Islam.
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