The concept of secularism became known in the Arab world due to influence of western countries mainly during the middle of nineteenth century. Fouad Zakaria, the founder of Arab existentialism has explained secularism in a wide sense and related with rationalism and secularization. When Secularism entered into Arab Islamic world, it was not alone but was accompanied by modernization and other new ideas.
The concept of secularism was novice and was accepted fairly in different phages. In the early phases secularism was overwhelmingly welcomed by the Arab Christians and somehow it was their necessity also. Arab Muslims hesitantly accepted the concept and they took time because of their traditional thoughts, though they appreciated the associated things more than the main concept. At later stages some radical elements started targeting this thought and Zakaria criticizes the fundamentalist Islamic thought which is trying to hamper the concept of secularism in Arab world though at times he also responds the western scholars when they call Arabs rigid.
While Arab countries were introduced to the concept of secularization which was welcomed by a fair number of people Middle East was also looking towards the whole episode but secularism was not welcomed by these countries considering their religious concepts. Some modification were seen in these countries at a later stage but the effect was not as good as it was seen the Arab world. Efforts were made but people conceptualized secularism as something against the religion and were not ready to digest that the concept is not going to hamper their religion; they also smell a rat in this concept of western interference and did not welcome as Arabs did though they were fascinated by other western things.
Azzam Tamimi and John L. Esposito. (2002). Islam and Secularism in the Middle East. London: C. Hurst & Co. Publishers Ltd. .