ENGAGING THE MUSLIM WORLD by Juan Cole

ENGAGING THE MUSLIM WORLD

KIRKUS REVIEW

Want to neutralize terrorism? One step, suggests Cole (History/Univ. of Michigan; Napoleon’s Egypt, 2007, etc.), is to stop using the term “Islamofascism.”

It’s not that the phrase is inciting Muslims to act poorly so much as obscuring the issue, writes the author. “The word ‘Islamic,’ ” he says, “like ‘Judaic,’ refers to the ideals of the religion…there can be Muslim thieves and Muslim terrorists, but since Islamic principles forbid property theft and terrorism, there can logically speaking be no ‘Islamic terrorism’ or ‘Islamic burglary.’ ” Alas, as Cole suggests, there has not been much logical speaking in the mix, with the result that Muslims worry about the prospect of renewed Western imperialism while Westerners fret over Muslim immigration—and everyone worries, justly, about violence. Cole charts various issues that cause division. One involves the reality and rhetoric of dependence on oil from Muslim countries. He observes that the United States is also dependent on other countries for chromium, tin and cobalt—among other things that are critically important to the defense industry—and “yet there is no clamor for chromium independence.” Racism and xenophobia play long-standing roles in mutual misunderstanding, but much of the discord is recent. As Cole observes, in the 1950s and ’60s, “Islam” was absent from discussions of U.S. foreign policy, while Muslim nations were kept in play largely to the extent that they had valuable resources or threatened to drift into the Soviet camp. Cole examines the current situation vis-à-vis Iran, Saudi Arabia and other nations and urges engagement—by which, among other things, he means “the demotion of military responses from favored tool to last resort.”

A well-reasoned, useful vision for Western-Muslim relations.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-230-60754-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2009




BOOKS ABOUT ISLAM:

NonfictionINFIDEL by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
NonfictionACTS OF FAITH by Eboo Patel
by Eboo Patel
NonfictionAMERICAN ISLAM by Paul M. Barrett
by Paul M. Barrett
NonfictionISLAM AND THE WEST by Bernard Lewis
by Bernard Lewis
NonfictionISLAM IN THE MODERN WORLD by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
by Seyyed Hossein Nasr
NonfictionHEAVY METAL ISLAM by Mark LeVine
by Mark Levine

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

IndiePraying for Rain by Emma Gates
by Emma Gates
IndieCivilization and Violence by Imbesat Daudi
by Imbesat Daudi
NonfictionTHE LOST SPRING by Walid Phares
by Walid Phares
NonfictionROCK THE CASBAH by Robin Wright
by Robin Wright