Representations of Islamic fundamentalism and the Ahmed Zaoui case

Brown, Malcolm (2010) Representations of Islamic fundamentalism and the Ahmed Zaoui case. Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations, 21 (4). pp. 331-341. ISSN 0959-6410


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.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Author's version unavailable in electronic format.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2011 08:54
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2012 00:30
Uncontrolled Keywords: Islam; fundamentalism; Ahmed Zaoui; New Zealand; diversity of Islam; intelligence services
Fields of Research : 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220104 Human Rights and Justice Issues
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
16 Studies in Human Society > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169999 Studies in Human Society not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/09596410.2010.527101

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