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This polemic discusses how countries such as the United States and Israel allegedly view the so-called terrorist states of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine, contending that Western powers behave in much the same way as terrorist and extremist groups. Arguing that countries such as the United States demonize certain sets of people termed the Other” the author goes on to suppose that these countries adopt a similar attitude of hate and violence as right-wing terrorist cells, making extremists in these countries irrelevant.
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Children of Abraham at War offers a fresh look at the situation in the Middle East with its focus on the role of messianism in contemporary politics, a force too often unacknowledged. Insightful and well researched, this book not only helps us understand the present, but it also warns us about the dangers of unchecked messianisms.... Despite the complexity of the book's subject matter, the author manages to lead his readers across the dense forest of politics, thanks to useful explanations, a superb choice of quotations and an invaluable summary at the end of the chapters.
Lisa Kaaki, Arab News
The narrative of the book manages to hold the attention of the reader to the last page...The sheer size of the data and information collected in this book makes it a must-have for those who are not only interested in the Middle East but also for those who would like to delve deeper into the causes of conflicts that abound.
Gargee Chakravarty, Saudi Gazette
With religion-driven fanaticism on the rise in many parts of the world, Talmiz Ahmad's book, tracing the roots of "messianic militarisms" and their impact on contemporary politics, is well timed. The book is meticulously researched and even-handed in its critique of the three religious tendencies involved in the clash of messianic militarisms.... It will be a valuable addition to university libraries and is a must-read for students of international politics.
John Cherian, Frontline
Ahmad's warning that the GWOT subsumes "the clash of messianic militarisms," whose potential for conflict is unfathomable, has to be taken seriously because it is born out of painstaking research and an incisive analysis, and is informed by compelling logic. Lucidly written, and with an eye for detail, the book is a must-read for students of comparative religions and international politics, and, more importantly, for the global citizenry, which needs to do all it can to avert the catastrophe that an unchecked messianism would spell for the world.
Atul Aneja, The Hindu
As I finished reading the book, I thought of two other books : Francis Fukuyama's The End of History and Samuel Huntington's The Clash of Civilizations. All three authors look for the big picture...Both Fukuyama and Huntington assume, without providing much corroborating evidence, the essential, inherent superiority of Western civilisation over others. Ambassador Talmiz Ahmad is refreshingly free from such an ego-centric predicament...In addition to being an industrious scholar, the author has spent most of his 35-year (foreign service) career in West Asia...Ahmad's historical narration of the genesis of the three militant Messianisms is of enduring value.
K.P. Fabian, Business Standard
This book is a reassertion that the thinking Ambassador is not quite extinct.
Saeed Naqvi, Outlook
Contemporary terrorism reveals the central role of religion in terms of providing its ideology, organization and motivating impulse. Societies move into crises when existing secular models are seen as having failed to fulfil the developmental, psychological and cultural aspirations of the populace. They then often trace contemporary shortcomings in their lives and the parlous state of their polities to the erosion of religious belief and its diminished influence in contemporary society, and seek solace by harking back to the "fundamentals" of their faith. However, it is only when fundamentalism is clothed in the garb of messianism that we obtain the essential precondition for violence against "the Other."Messianic belief has been central to the three Semitic religious traditions since their inception and it has remained a vibrant force throughout their history. While providing comfort in times of crises and calamities, Messianic movements also demonise the enemy, seeing him as Satan or Antichrist. In this conflict with evil, God is seen as providing divine sanction for the perpetration of the most horrendous violence against the "Other", which is identified as a collective enemy among whom "no-one is innocent."In contemporary times, we are witnessing a revival of messianic belief among adherents of the three Semitic traditions, be it triumphant Jewish messianism, Christian messianism in the face of a perceived social and cultural malaise, or Islamic messianism emerging from a pervasive sense of defeat and despair.In line with precedents set in the earlier age of faith, these modern-day messianic assertions are based on a selective understanding of pristine traditions transplanted into 21st century circumstances, setting the stage for a rehearsal of ancient fratricidal feuds in a contemporary environment. The Children of Abraham are at war with a new intensity, but with the same age-old mutual non-comprehension, intolerance and demonisation.
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