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Napoleon Bonaparte led forty thousand troops to Egypt in the French Revolutionary Wars against Britain. The French were in Egypt for three years in 17981801, during which time they associated with the Egyptian people and founded an academic institute called The Egyptian Institute. Zaynab, the daughter of a high religious shaykh of al-Azhar, visited the institute, learned French, and became close to the French. She became associated with Bonaparte through her fathers ambitions to use Bonaparte to further his religious career, quite as Bonaparte used the shaykh to give Muslim legitimacy to his position as ruler of Egypt in sevice to the Ottoman Sultan. Both were trying to use the other to their own advantage. The shaykhs daughter, Zaynab, gets caught in the middle and will pay the price of collaboration when the French are forced to abandon Egypt.