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Muslim RebelsKharijites and the Politics of Extremism in Egypt$
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Jeffrey T. Kenney

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195131697

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/019513169X.001.0001

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 The New Politics of Anti‐Extremist Rhetoric

 The New Politics of Anti‐Extremist Rhetoric

Kharijite Essentialism and Beyond

(p.145) 5 The New Politics of Anti‐Extremist Rhetoric
Muslim Rebels

Jeffrey T. Kenney (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the political discourse on extremism in the 1980s and 1990s, a time when Egyptians began to explore the causes of extremism in more critical and nuanced ways. It argues that by participating in the new anti-extremist politics and the debate over the meaning of Kharijism that accompanied it, Islamists were trying to win over the public and make a stronger case against the existing regime. But, in the process, they conceded the importance of the very middle-class demands that informed the new politics; and those demands were not for a religious transformation of Egypt — the creation of an Islamic government or the implementation of Islamic law — but rather for workable social institutions, a more open political process, and a healthy economy. In the political discourse of late-20th-century Egypt, the end of violence, the end of the problem of Kharijism, entailed a new political beginning shorn of absolutist politics of any kind.

Keywords:   anti-extremism, Kharjism, Islam, political discourse

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