Muhammad Ali and Ismail the magnificent

(19th century westernizers)

Muhammad Ali was a military commander with Albanian origins who was raised in the greek city of Kavalla. He arrived in Egypt and was appointed governor by the Ottoman Empire in 1805. His main political objective was to separate Egypt from the Ottomans and establish a hereditary dynasty that would be administrated by his family. He restructured the administrative procedures of Egypt by changing the educational systems and attempted to strengthen the military by sending students to Europe on training missions. He introduced the first Arabic newspaper in a bid to move away from the Ottomans while gaining control of most of the lands of Egypt. Most importantly, he reorganized the central administration to concentrate the power under his authority.

Ismail the magnificent was the grandson of Muhammad Ali. He had a vision to make Egypt a part of Europe. After assuming power, he embarked on a series of westernization policies which made him a controversial leader. He introduced the European education system into Egypt and increased the budget for education by ten times. He also introduced mixed courts, although sharia courts still existed, the majority of the cases were decided by the mixed courts which used European principles to make judgments. He also started reconstructing some areas of Cairo to emulate the structure of Paris in a bid to be more European. Despite enacting westernizing policies he did nothing to change the relationship between the monarchy and the people. This coupled with the attempts at abandoning the Islamic traditions is what made him controversial as a leader.