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Preface: Scholar with a Cause


In 2008, French scholar Mariam Abou Zahab met with Abdullah Anas, a known Algerian Islamist and veteran of the Afghan Jihad, over dinner on the sidelines of a conference in London. At some point, the conversation turned to Afghanistan, and Abou Zahab - who was conversing with him in Arabic - mentioned how dear the country was to her heart. Ana's interest was piqued, and he asked her if she had travelled to the war-torn country during the 1980s. She replied that she had indeed spent a considerable amount of time there. "But what were you doing in Afghanistan? Were you a journalist?" asked Anas, only to see his interlocutor shake her head in denial. A few more questions followed as he tried to probe this enigmatic French woman further. Was she an aid worker there, or a scholar? he asked. She was visibly amsed and continued to answer in the negative. "So, what were you doing in Afghanistan?", Anas asked in desperation. "Jihad" replied Abou Zahab with a smile...
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hal-03038158 , version 1 (03-12-2020)



Laurent Gayer. Preface: Scholar with a Cause. Pakistan. A kaleidoscope of Islam, Hurst Publishers, pp.ix - xx, 2020, 9781787383227. ⟨hal-03038158⟩
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