A Portrait of Egypt: A Journey Through the World of Militant Islam

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9780374235420: A Portrait of Egypt: A Journey Through the World of Militant Islam

A fascinating account of modern life in Egypt.

It is difficult to be neutral about Egypt. For centuries it has been the citadel of Islamic learning and thought, and since the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty, in 1979, it has been of immense strategic importance to American interests in the Middle East. But Egypt is also a country in crisis, as the 1997 massacre at Luxor made clear, torn between old worlds and new, unsettled religious revival and politics.

President Hosni Mubarak, a former jet fighter pilot sworn in after Anwar Sadat's brutal assassination, favors a secular society. But Mubarak's government faces constant conflict with militant clerics such as Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, recently sentenced to life in an American prison after his conviction for seditious conspiracy to wage "a war of urban terrorism against the United States." Mary Anne Weaver argues that an Islamist victory in Egypt is almost inevitable, and, unlike that of Shi'ite Iran, its impact on the Islamic world will be truly profound. Even among scholars, there is a growing concern that if Egypt "goes Islamic," so could much of the Arab world.

Based on interviews with militants and front men, prime ministers and presidents, Weaver's is a fascinating and brilliant account of the world of militant Islam.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Mary Anne Weaver is a foreign correspondent for The New Yorker who has written numerous articles on the Islamic world, including profiles of Benazir Bhutto and Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. She lives in New York City.

From Publishers Weekly:

Weaver, a New Yorker correspondent, is a gifted writer and observer who has spent a great deal of time and effort trying to understand the complex culture of Egypt and its effects on the entire Islamic world. She conveys the huge gap between Egypt's rich and poor and explains the appeal of political Islam in its many forms (some more radical than others) to the disenfranchised masses. Weaver believes that if Egypt turns "Islamist" in the way that Iran did in 1979, the effects will be much more dramatic throughout the Islamic world. She explains how the new generation of violent Islamic militants active throughout the world is largely the creation of U.S. policy: when the CIA covertly supported the mujahideen who drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan, it armed, trained and funded those who would become the most implacable enemies of the U.S. Weaver excels at explaining how, even as Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak cracks down on domestic Islamic opposition, the mullahs are gaining control of Egypt's judiciary and educational system. Her interviews with Mubarak, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman (the spiritual mentor of the World Trade Center bombers and, earlier, of some people involved in the assassination of Anwar Sadat) and Naguib Mahfouz are riveting. Yet, as thorough and eye-opening as Weaver's raw reportage is, the book lacks structure. Organized neither chronologically nor thematically, it is essentially a series of accomplished pieces of journalism that will leave readers with discrete chunks of information and just the hint of a larger pattern that Weaver never quite brings into focus.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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