The author says that Egyptian ruler Muhammad ‘Alī Pasha was truly the paragon of modern secularism in the East.
"There was creative interaction between his policies and the ideas of Rafā‘ah al-Tahtāwī, the bringer of the modern Arab renaissance," Shūbāshī writes
What then happened to have orientations and secularism now become thought of as "the work of the devil," the author queries.
He blames this on the traditional confrontation with the West, and as the colonial era drew to a close, to the emergence of the state of Israel and "major Western states' unconditional support for it."
Together with the 1967 defeat of the Arabs by Israel, this led to the birth of the notion that the "revival of the religious state was the only solution to regain lost dignity and former glories," Shūbāshī writes.