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The Crisis of Islam

Holy War and Unholy Terror

Bernard Lewis



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01 April 2004
History; Religious intolerance, persecution & conflict; Islam; Islamic studies; Terrorism, armed struggle
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 world-wide 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. He tells us what the real meaning is of 'Islamic fundamentalism', 'jihad' and 'fatwa', and why the peoples of the Middle East are conscious of history in a way that most Americans find difficult to understand.
By:   Bernard Lewis
Imprint:   Phoenix
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 136mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   171g
ISBN:   9780753817520
ISBN 10:   0753817527
Pages:   208
Publication Date:   01 April 2004
Audience:   College/higher education ,  General/trade ,  Primary ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Bernard Lewis is Emeritus Professor of of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. He was formerly Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at SOAS, University of London, from 1949 to 1974. He is a member of the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Institut de France.

Reviews for The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror

At a time when many in the world are anxious to learn more about Islam, to understand what it is that drives the likes of Osama bin Laden and his followers to commit their terrible atrocities in the name of jihad, this slim volume by one of the West's foremost historians of Islam is a welcome, indeed necessary, addition to the wealth of books on this and related issues which have been spawned by the events of September 11 2001. Islam in both its senses - religion and civilization - dates back over 14 centuries to the advent of the Prophet Muhammad. Today more than ever, though, religion remains, in most Islamic countries, a major political force; Lewis argues that it is not only a matter of faith and practice, but also 'an identity and a loyalty'. This perhaps goes some way to explain why a small minority of Muslims will go to such extreme lengths to rid the world of the forces of evil embodied by the United States of America and Zionism. Having considered the ideological background, Lewis goes on to consider the way forward - how so-called Islamic fundamentalists are likely to prosecute their cause in the future and how the West can best deal with a terrorist threat which can only be fuelled by the poverty and tyranny which affects most of the Muslim world and an exploding population of 'unemployed, uneducated and frustrated young men'. Lewis states that 'in devising means to fight the terrorists, it would surely be useful to understand the forces that drive them'; this book is a useful aid to that understanding. (Kirkus UK)

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