Rabat - Egyptian scholar and writer, Youssef Zaidan, has created controversy in the Arab World after stating that medieval Muslim figure, Saladin, was “despicable.”
Rabat – Egyptian scholar and writer, Youssef Zaidan, has created controversy in the Arab World after stating that medieval Muslim figure, Saladin, was “despicable.”
Youssef Zaidan, the scholar of Arabic and Islamic Studies, notorious for his radical stances, has stirred yet another controversy for branding one of the most highly regarded figures of the 12th century, Salahuddin Ayyubi, as “one of the most despicable figures in human history.”
Zaidan featured in an Egyptian talk show hosted by Amro Adib, another controversial media and public figure. At one point, he responded to a question on whether the films of Saladin encourage violence among children:
“Of course they do. First of all, they are in the most part historical fallacies,” claimed Zaidan.
As to his reasons for branding Saladin as “despicable” he cites the following as his reason; “He committed crimes against the Fatimids.”
The Fatimid Caliphate was a Shia Islamic caliphate that spread across North Africa, Egypt, Iraq and Syria between 909 and 1171. They were known for their intolerance for non-Shia Muslims.
Youssef Zaidan created another controversy during his visit to Morocco in August 14 of last year on the occasion of the Twiza Festival in Tangier. Soon after he finished his intervention, he lit up his cigarette leaving the audience and his fellow panelists completely stunned.
This prompted Yassin Adnane, a prominent Moroccan intellectual and media figure, to intervene and urge Zaidan to extinguish his cigarette. Zaidan, however, insisted that he had the right to smoke, and decided to leave the conference room rather than extinguish it.
The Salahuddin Ayyubi who Zaidan referred to was the founder of the Ayyubi dynasty in Syria and Egypt. He is credited with uniting the Muslim kingdoms of the Arab World, eventually reclaiming Jerusalem from the Crusaders in the Battle of Hattin in 1187, after 88 years of Crusaders’ control.