Policing Islam: The British Occupation of Egypt and the Anglo-Egyptian Struggle over Control of the Police, 1882-1914

Policing Islam: The British Occupation of Egypt and the Anglo-Egyptian Struggle over Control of the Police, 1882-1914

Policing Islam: The British Occupation of Egypt and the Anglo-Egyptian Struggle over Control of the Police, 1882-1914

Policing Islam: The British Occupation of Egypt and the Anglo-Egyptian Struggle over Control of the Police, 1882-1914

Synopsis

The role of the police force was central in the politics and social life of Egypt during the British occupation between 1882 and 1914. Egyptians initially resisted British encroachment into the sphere of autonomy that had been reserved to them in police matters. However, preferring indirect rule to overt manifestations of power that would be signified by the use of the army, the British used the issue of reform to tighten their hold on Egypt by means of the police. This study applies modern criminological theory to examine the attendant political repression, torture, corruption, and rising crime that soon followed. Instead of the more professional and community-oriented police force exemplified by the bobbies in England, the British opted for a militarized Egyptian police force, better suited to the repression of political dissent than of ordinary crime. Tollefson seeks to account for rising crime in Egypt, which Lord Cromer, the British Consul-General between 1883 and 1907, referred to as Egypt's worst problem during his tenure. Under British control, defects in the police such as low pay, harsh discipline, and maltreatment of suspects persisted, and ordinary crime increased. This work confirms what students of colonial policing have come to appreciate; the police performed key security and social maintenance roles in colonial and quasi-colonial situations.

Excerpt

David M. Anderson and David Killingray in Policing the Empire: Government, Authority, and Control, 1830–1940 point out the centrality of the police in the social and political history of British colonialism. the police performed an important social maintenance function and played a crucial political security role in the colonies. the following chapters also suggest their importance in the quasicolonial situation the British encountered in Egypt. the words and actions of British officials and Egyptian opponents of the occupation clearly indicate the significance of the police question, magnified due to the peculiar circumstances associated with the veiled protectorate.

This work also attempts to illuminate further an important facet of Egyptian administrative history by analyzing police and ghaffir reforms. the historical administrative studies of Robert Tignor and F. Robert Hunter were helpful in pointing to the signficance of this topic and suggesting an approach to it. Administrative history properly conceived of as it is by these scholars integrates the new interest in social history and the traditional concerns with political and diplomatic factors. This approach analyzes the political process leading to a policy, the bureaucratic implementation of it, and the socioeconomic effects. Furthermore, the role of bureaucracy, very strong in a country such as Egypt, merits study as it can greatly affect, even alter or sabotage, a policy in the course of implementing it.

In addition, the book utilizes criminological insights to inform its perspective. the late Dr. Donald Cressey helped introduce me to the relevant criminological literature. I am particularly indebted to him for the differential theory of crime causation. Criminological studies of the police, especially those of David H. Bayley, helped provide a conceptual framework for understanding the historical data on the development of the Egyptian police and ghaffirs in terms of different models of policing. in organizing the book, I have also benefited from reading many excellent histories of policing.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.