© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI: 10.1163/157005810X502655 Arabica 57 (2010) 251-266 brill.nl/arab Rhetoric and Ideology in Egypt’s Wasat ̣ iyya Movement Jacob Høigilt Fafo Institute for Applied Studies (Oslo) Abstract Islamic centrism ( wasat ̣ iyya ) is commonly presented as an open-minded and dialogue-oriented form of Islamism. This article questions that view by analyzing texts written by two prominent centrists: Muh ̣ ammad ʿ Ammāra and Fahmī Huwaydī. Focusing on rhetorical techniques, the article argues that their texts are characterized by aggressive polemics not conducive to pluralist public debate. While relying heavily on barrages of rhetorical questions and implicit arguments, they avoid serious discussion of diﬃcult issues. These characteristics of their texts are brought out by a discourse analysis based on modern text linguistics, speciﬁcally Functional Grammar as developed by Michael Halliday. This approach to Islamism is new and helps explaining why centrism, despite its professed open-mindedness, has failed both to defuse the high ideological tension in contemporary Egyptian debates about Islam in society and to contribute to bringing those debates forward. Keywords wasat ̣ iyya , islamism, Egypt, rhetoric, functional grammar Introduction What does the rhetoric of centrism ( wasat ̣ iyya ) look like?
Arabica – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2010
Keywords: Egypt; Wasaiyya; rhetoric; islamism; functional grammar
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