François Burgat
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Between Judges and Spooks
in Understanding Political Islam
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At their core, the public relations of the “Arab Pinochets” towards their Western partners have rested on the deterrent power of the “fundamentalism” of their bogeyman dissidents. The idea was thus absolutely unacceptable to them that anyone might convince a Western public that some of these bogeymen might be declared innocent—or that their “crimes” might be reduced to the level of the counter-violence of an opposition forced into legitimate self-defense. This chapter thus examines one testing-ground for this struggle in which the author was closely involved, in particular as when called as an expert-witness for the highly politically contested asylum claims of Islamist figures in several countries.

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