The Political Cost of Dissent
in Understanding Political Islam
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Even before the alchemy of the rise of political Islam took us from the era of the “fellagas” into the age of the “fundamentalists,” the ethnic and linguistic Othering of Arabness had been quite enough to create powerful reflexes of rejection towards it. Things took a distinct turn for the worse, however, once the Other, after he had “spoken Arab” to us, got it into his head to start wanting to “speak Muslim” too. However, to this day, a strand of the Arab political classes—the one that has easiest access to our media—has remained stuck in a stance of indiscriminate rejection of the Islamist generation, which this chapter examines in detail.

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