Skip to main content

Full text of "The Egyptian Problem"

Abdul Hamid began to court it for his own purposes, both as Sultan and as Khalif. In the new Nationalism there were many different currents, but one of the strongest flowed from Constantinople, where Abdul Hamid's Pan-Islamic propaganda, covertly encouraged by William II, who saw in him a useful instrument of his own ambitions, had reached out, not unsuccessfully, into Egypt. The Nationalist leaders no doubt had no wish to revive Turkish political domination in Egypt, but they thought they could safely use the religious sentiment, which must always draw a Mahomedan people towards Turkey in any differences arising between her and a Christian Power, to obtain popular support for a campaign against British control which, as a mere agitation on the part of the educated classes for self-government and for the elimination of British influence from the administration of the country, left the masses at that time more than cold. As was shown by a chance quarrel in the streets of Alexandria which had led to an ugly outbreak of Mahomedan violence, the cry of Din ! Din !—" Our religion! Our religion! "—is always a potent cry in all Mahomedan countries, even in Egypt, where there is probably less religious fanaticism than in most; and some of the leading Nationalists had tried covertly to raise it, in a more subtle and far more dangerous form, even in such a clearly and exclusively political issue as that which arose in 1906 between England and Turkey over the invasion of Egyptian territory in the Sinai peninsula by Ottoman troops. Pan-Islamism in its larger aspects was not likely to get a permanent hold of Egypt, nor did Egyptian Nationalism as a whole come under its influence ; but that it was actually impressed into the service of a movement that claimed to represent progress and enlightenment could not but give food for reflection. For apart from its political aspects, Pan-Islamism at the very best is inspired by a belief in the superiority of Islam, not merely as the only form of religion that makes for man's salvation in a future life, but also as a social system
mn enabled Egypt to offer to any further encroachments by Turkey and by the other Powers on Egyptian rights had to that extent strengthened her position as a separate, though still * good sense to set the example, became reconciled to it, and by the year 1906 Mixed Municipal Commissions, on which Egyptians and foreigners sat together, had been established in Mansourah and five other important s                        towns, the Central Government merely making certain