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Leaps of faith The Clash of Fundamentalisms Crusades Jihads and Modernity Tariq Ali 352pp Verso What Went Wrong Bernard Lewis 192pp Weidenfeld Unholy War Terror in the Name of Islam John Esposito 192pp Oxford On September 11 last year 19 young hijackers changed the world and its relations with their faith Islam Their terrible act created one of the greatest paradoxes of the 21st century Islam which sees itself as a religion of peace is now associated with murder and mayhem What psychological political or cultural factors are driving people into the global confrontation And what is the role of Islam in this In three authoritative books the former Marxist Tariq Ali the orientalist historian Bernard Lewis and the non-Muslim yet sympathetic Islam scholar John Esposito attempt to answer the questions from different perspectives Responses to Islam in the west have come in several forms There have been attempts to reach out and begin the process of understanding but there has also been an outpouring of vitriol Muslims have been harassed and humiliated even killed The editor of the National Review came up with this solution Nuke Mecca and force the remaining Muslims to accept Christianity It is this kind of reaction that Tariq Ali calls fundamentalism Alis autobiographical polemical angry historical and ironic book explains Islams predicament and its relations with the west from a neo-Marxist perspective The US as the sole superpower has created global political social and economic conditions that foster anger and hatred towards it Ali sees fundamentalism in both the America of George Bush and the Islam of Osama bin Laden for him Allahs revenge and God is on our side are two sides of the same coin His answer is to move towards socialism and the route takes us back to his youth In unexpected vignettes he describes life in Pakistan as a boy in the 1950s The first chapter An Atheist Childhood explains the influence of
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