Русский | English

Bunabardi Pasha and «Army of Shaitan»: Islam in the Policy of the Eastern Expedition of Bonaparte 1798-1801

Kirillina Svetlana

   The goal of this article is to analyze the main features and the outcome of the policy in the religious sphere pursued by the French authorities during the Bonaparte’s campaign in Ottoman Egypt. The French launched the propaganda campaign in favor of Islam which included showing respect to the religion of the country, support of the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca and traditional Muslim festivals. This campaign was aimed at winning over the local Muslims who regarded the invaders as impious strangers. The preferential treatment was given to the Islamic institutions and high religious dignitaries – sheikhs and ulama. They were considered as a main local social power to be used as a backbone of the occupation regime. Anyhow, the pro-Islamic declarations and actions of the French administration didn’t prevent the inevitable consequences of the military presence in the alien country. The author answers the question – what were the reasons for the failure of the religious policy conducted by Bonaparte and his successors, commanders-in-chief of the French army in Egypt – Generals Kléber and Menou.

Keywords: Bonaparte, Ottoman Egypt, Ottoman Empire, Islam, Islamic institutions
Link: Kirillina S. Bunabardi Pasha and «Army of Shaitan»: Islam in the Policy of the Eastern Expedition of Bonaparte 1798-1801 // Annuaire d'études françaises 2017: La France et la Méditerranée aux époques moderne et contemporaine / Annual of French Studies 2017: France and the Mediterranean in Modern and Contemporary Times.М. P. 35-54.