SACRED RAGE by Robin Wright


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The 1980's have witnessed an explosive romance between religion and politics: liberation theology, the Moral Majority, the abortion debates come readily to mind. But nowhere has this religious upheaval been more evident than in the vertiginous rise of fundamentalist Islam. In this much-needed volume, reporter Wright elucidates the origins and history of the Islamic revolution, and offers some sobering predictions about its future course. Wright notes that in 1984 alone, there were 652 terrorist attacks worldwide-many of them by Moslem fanatics against American targets. Wright locates the roots of Islamic extremism in the 7th-century schism of the faith into the moderate Sunni majority and the more inflammatory Shia minority. More immediately, she traces much of the latest wave of Islamic terrorism to a March, 1982, conference in Teheran attended by sheikhs from an array of Arab states, at which a plan was devised to spread Islamic revolution across the globe. At the same time, Wright insists that Islamic terrorism is not a coordinated international movement but rather the work of a number of different groups with different aims. She establishes grievances basic to all fundamentalist Moslems--in essence, a conviction that decadent western culture has not only exploited them economically, but has violated the holy tenets of their faith--and then deftly sketches the fundamentalist political history of major Moslem nations, including Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan. Much of this history is presented through heart-pounding accounts of hijack and car-bomb incidents, and through profiles of ram. boyant revolutionary leaders. Wright concludes with a look at American options in light of the increasing certainty that ""the Iranian revolution is both genuine and lasting"" and won't die with Khomeini. She warns against a policy of retaliation, pointing out that force will only feed the resentment of Islamic fanatics, and counsels instead a policy of rapprochement--a bitter pill for many Americans to swallow.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 1985
Publisher: Linden/Simon & Schuster