Representations of Islamic fundamentalism and the Ahmed Zaoui case

Article


Brown, Malcolm. 2010. "Representations of Islamic fundamentalism and the Ahmed Zaoui case." Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations. 21 (4), pp. 331-341. https://doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2010.527101
Article Title

Representations of Islamic fundamentalism and the Ahmed Zaoui case

ERA Journal ID12755
Article CategoryArticle
Authors
AuthorBrown, Malcolm
Journal TitleIslam and Christian-Muslim Relations
Journal Citation21 (4), pp. 331-341
Number of Pages11
Year2010
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0959-6410
1469-9311
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/09596410.2010.527101
Abstract

This article takes the form of an abridged and annotated version of an affidavit that I wrote in support of Ahmed Zaoui, an Algerian refugee who spent 10 months in solitary confinement in New Zealand. Its central aims are to reflect sociologically on some of the issues that were at stake in this case, within the context of an analysis of Islamic fundamentalism as a specific synthesis of traditionalist and liberal Islam. I observe that fundamentalism is often analysed in terms of a 'failure' to recognize or value the products of modernity and mysticism, even in academic discourses, and that its use is vitiated by a negative evaluation of fundamentalism prior to the point of definition. Furthermore, the understanding of Islamic
fundamentalism is central to Western perceptions and fears of Islam, and, specifically, to the allegations of the New Zealand SIS (Security and Intelligence Service) against Zaoui; the case turned around the question of whether or not he was an Islamic fundamentalist. This case therefore shows that the sociological analysis of terms such as Islamic fundamentalism has a real bearing on people's lives, and is not merely a conceptual or theological discussion that occurs within the ivory towers.

KeywordsIslam; fundamentalism; Ahmed Zaoui; New Zealand; diversity of Islam; intelligence services
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020500104. Human rights and justice issues (excl. law)
500405. Religion, society and culture
449999. Other human society not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Humanities and Communication
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