Friday, February 15, 2013

The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror

[July 2009] In this fast-paced work, Bernard Lewis presents a brief, balanced history of the evolution of current Islam states. His viewpoint is fairly objective, keeping away from dogmatic views on either side. The central point of his view is that there is that the demands of the fundamentalists can never be appeased. However, Islam itself is just as much in danger as the Western World. Previously, they could play one western power against another. However, today they have to spend more energy to 'attack' the dominant powers. As for Israel, he doesn't see peace there having a significant impact on the terrorist organizations. (It will just eliminate one of a litany of excuses.)

He is both critical and condoning of current western policies towards Muslim countries. The support of "bad" rulers does help the west deal with rulers they know. However, it allows the fire to be fueled among the public. Since they see a despised leader aligned with the west, the west also presents an easy target for the anger. On the other hand, democratic institutions quickly allow for radical parties to assume power, which can make relations more difficult (though may often lead to stronger opinions expressed internally.)

Briefly, he touches on the demographics of the Islamic world, being overwhelmingly young, poor, and not well educated.

For terrorists doctrine, he comes down in the middle. Jihad is clearly clearly a physical activity advocated in the Koran, with martyrs receiving a ticket to paradise. However, suicide is a great sin, thus suicide attackers would receive endless suffering.

The author narrates the audiobook himself, in a gentle, erudite fashion. The unabridged version is only 4 disks, and an excellent background of the current middle east conditions that does not confine itself to certain political views.

No comments:

Post a Comment