The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror

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9780753817520: The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror
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The great scholar of Islam directly confronts the events of September 11th and the reasons behind Islamic terrorism in the modern world - a Sunday Times bestseller. President Bush has made it clear that we are engaged in a war against terrorism. But for Osama bin Laden and his followers this is religious war, a war for Islam against infidels, especially the United States, the greatest power in the world of the infidels. In this book Bernard Lewis shows us where the anger and frustration have come from, and the extent to which almost the entire Muslim world is affected by poverty and tyranny. He looks at the influence of extreme Wahhabist doctrines in the Saudi kingdom, where custodianship of Islam's holy places and the revenues of oil have given worldwide impact to what would otherwise have been an extremist fringe in a marginal country. He looks at American double standards, which have long caused Muslim anger, and tells us the real meaning of `Islamic fundamentalism', `jihad' and `fatwa', and why the peoples of the Middle East are conscious of history in a way most Americans find difficult to understand.

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After the terrorist attacks of September 11, many Americans yearned to understand why Muslim extremists felt such passionate animosity toward the Western world, particularly the United States. Since that historic attack there have been many books and discussions about this very question, but few of them offer such a readable and relevant response as this excellent offering by renowned historian Bernard Lewis (What Went Wrong?). For modern Westerners, Islam is an especially foreign religion and culture to understand. For instance, Westerners typically dismiss things as unimportant when using the expression "that’s history." But for those raised in Muslim households, history—even ancient history—is just as important (if not more important) as the present. And to better understand the hostilities rooted in this history—one could start with recognizing the long-standing resentment the Islamic community harbors from having its homelands torn apart and re-packaged into random political states by occupying Europeans (Westerners). Or stretch back in time to the brutality of the Crusades. Or go straight to the U.S. political meddling in the region throughout the latter 20th century.

This is not a pity fest for Muslims. Lewis even-handedly explores the sources of Islamic antagonism toward the West while also explaining how a supposedly peace-worshipping religion could be so distorted by violent extremism. He notes that the American way of life—especially that of fulfillment through material gain and sexual freedom—is a direct threat to Islamic values (which is why night clubs—places where men and women publicly touch one another—are targets of bombings). But it is basic Western democracy that especially threatens Islamic extremists, notes Lewis, because within its own community more and more Muslims are coming to value the freedom that political democracy allows. For anyone wanting an intelligent and accessible primer on the Islamic-Western conflict, this is an excellent place to begin. Gail Hudson

From the Back Cover:

“Terrorism requires only a few. Obviously the West must defend itself by whatever means will be effective. But in devising means to fight the terrorists, it would surely be useful to understand the forces that drive them.” —from the Introduction

“Remarkably succinct . . . It offers a long view in the midst of so much short-termism and confusing punditry. Lewis has done us all—Muslim and non-Muslim alike—a remarkable service.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Inestimable . . . replete with the exceptional historical insight that one has come to expect from the world’s foremost Islamic scholar.” —The Wall Street Journal

“A timely and provocative contribution to the current raging debate about the tensions between the West and the Islamic world.” —BusinessWeek

“No scholar of Islam in the Western world has more thoroughly earned the respect of generalists and academics alike than Bernard Lewis. . . . An excitingly knowledgeable antidote to today’s natural sense of befuddlement. . . . History with electric immediacy.” —Baltimore Sun
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Book Description Orion Publishing Co, United Kingdom, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The great scholar of Islam directly confronts the events of September 11th and the reasons behind Islamic terrorism in the modern world - a Sunday Times bestseller.President Bush has made it clear that we are engaged in a war against terrorism. But for Osama bin Laden and his followers this is religious war, a war for Islam against infidels, especially the United States, the greatest power in the world of the infidels. In this book Bernard Lewis shows us where the anger and frustration have come from, and the extent to which almost the entire Muslim world is affected by poverty and tyranny.He looks at the influence of extreme Wahhabist doctrines in the Saudi kingdom, where custodianship of Islam s holy places and the revenues of oil have given worldwide impact to what would otherwise have been an extremist fringe in a marginal country. He looks at American double standards, which have long caused Muslim anger, and tells us the real meaning of `Islamic fundamentalism , `jihad and `fatwa , and why the peoples of the Middle East are conscious of history in a way most Americans find difficult to understand. Seller Inventory # AA29780753817520

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Book Description Orion Publishing Co, United Kingdom, 2004. Paperback. Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. The great scholar of Islam directly confronts the events of September 11th and the reasons behind Islamic terrorism in the modern world - a Sunday Times bestseller.President Bush has made it clear that we are engaged in a war against terrorism. But for Osama bin Laden and his followers this is religious war, a war for Islam against infidels, especially the United States, the greatest power in the world of the infidels. In this book Bernard Lewis shows us where the anger and frustration have come from, and the extent to which almost the entire Muslim world is affected by poverty and tyranny.He looks at the influence of extreme Wahhabist doctrines in the Saudi kingdom, where custodianship of Islam s holy places and the revenues of oil have given worldwide impact to what would otherwise have been an extremist fringe in a marginal country. He looks at American double standards, which have long caused Muslim anger, and tells us the real meaning of `Islamic fundamentalism , `jihad and `fatwa , and why the peoples of the Middle East are conscious of history in a way most Americans find difficult to understand. Seller Inventory # AA29780753817520

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