In 1909, an American professor of administration Peter Drucker created the concept of “The Knowledge Society” [see: http://www.wiu.edu/users/mfihd/research/drucker/acaessay.html] which was a development Francis Bacon’s saying in the 16th century “knowledge is power.” These two phrases clearly imply that knowledge is the basis of development and modernization of human societies. They furthermore indicate that “The Knowledge Society” disregards the concept of “absolute truth” and deals with issues in a relative manner.
In Egypt and the Arab region there are two main gaps separating them from the modern civilization, namely “the gap of knowledge” and the “gap of freedom.” The existence of this separation has resulted in the spread of myths, religious fanaticism, and the appearance of what is called the “gap of the hope.” This gap of knowledge was exceptionally explicit during the French campaign against Egypt in 1789, when the French army was armed with modern equipment while the Egyptian army was using very old arms. The same situation reoccurred during the U.S. led military campaign against the Taliban following September 11 attacks.
This gap was realized by Muhammad ‘Alī and his successors who built a modern renaissance in Egypt based on knowledge, cultured elite, and the scientific scholarships in the European universities. This renaissance however, was abolished by the military revolution of 1952 which was followed by the strict regime of ‘Abd al-Nāsir and Islamic state in the time of President Sādāt.
The elite who led the renaissance in the West are discarded in our desperate East, which has resulted in the tardiness in the development of “the knowledge society.” The author stresses that the realization of this came after participating in a statement issued by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies [See: http://www.cihrs.org/Default_en.aspx]. The statement discussed the suggested amendment of article two of the Constitution which stipulates Islam as the main source of legislation in Egypt, and which had approximately 200 signatories who represented the “cultured elite” in Egypt. Their statement was delivered to the president, the prime minister and the head of Parliament. The signatories stressed their rejection of the idea of a religious state as it contradicts with the neutrality of the state toward its citizens and ensuring equality among them.