John slight traces the empires complex interactions with the hajj from the 1860s when an outbreak of cholera led britain to engage reluctantly in medical regulation of pilgrims to the suez crisis of 1956 the story draws on a varied cast of characters richard burton thomas cook the begums of bhopal lawrence of arabia and frontline imperial officials many of them muslim and gives voice throughout to the pilgrims themselves. These politics were of course intimately bound up with the geopolitics of ottoman rule and the arab revolt during world war i slights most interesting discussion relates to the ways that the british negotiated the changes in the hajj arising from the takeover of mecca and medina by ibn saud in the 1920s and particularly with the advent of a wahhabism that changed for some the very nature of the hajj experience. The british empire and the hajj 1865 1956 is a revealing study of the british empires interaction with the annual hajj pilgrimage over the course of nine decades john slight does much to adjust and refine our understanding of a subtle and complex dynamic britains relationship with its muslim inner empire. The british empire and the hajj 1865 1956
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