Thursday, May 10, 2007

See No Solution, Hear No Solution, Speak No Solution!

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These are extraordinary books by extraordinarily qualified authors. The most prolific researchers on Islam today, they still can't get a date with George W. Bush.

The conversant yet transcendent styles are accessible to all reading levels and should be required for all Americans who pretend to actually care about solving the problems that face us in the middle east.

Reza Azlan pens this pervasive book and just as it is complete, Vali Nasr finishes one more definitive book on the Shia Revival entitled the same, as a window the size of your living room into the problems and solutions for Iraq and surrounding Islamic nations. It is clear that our current administration has zero interest in actually ending this war, as their goal is not peace in the middle east, but profit from war.

Though it is clear the Islamic world sees no other way to get to heaven but by Allah, they certainly are not in agreement on what Allah looks like or how he wants his people to proceed. As the Shia and Sunni are much like Catholics and Protestants are to the Christian world, they are far too worried about how they will get along to worry about trying to convert the US or anyone else outside of the Middle East. Sure, they believe we will come around to their way of thinking but not by war but by revelation by their true God, Allah.

According to author Reza Azlan, if the US pulled out of Iraq immediately, the first thing that both the Shia and Sunni would agree on would be the elimination of Al Quaeda and the second would be to guarantee peace and stability to Iraq, as they care more about sustaining peace there than anyone in the US government. What is stopping us from following that advice? Well, maybe it has something to do with the absolute closed eyes and ears of the Whitehouse to anything that would stop the flow of money out of average American's hands into the Military Industrial Complex. This war is all about maintaining palatial Imperial Life in the Emerald City for the occupiers of this war torn country. But... that's another book.

Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker
Aslan, a young Iranian emigrant, lucidly charts the growth of Islam from Muhammad's model community in Medina—depicted as a center of egalitarian social reform—through the chaotic contest to define the faith after the Prophet's death. Within generations, seven hundred thousand hadith—accounts of Muhammad's words and deeds—were in circulation, many "fabricated by individuals who sought to legitimize their own particular beliefs." Out of this muddle was born the primacy of the ulema, Islam's clerical establishment. The ulema, in Aslan's view, foreclosed Koranic interpretation, detoured from the Medinan ideal, and obscured Islam under a thicket of legalistic decrees. Fifteen centuries after Muhammad, Islam has reached the age at which Christianity underwent its reformation; Islam's renewal, Aslan attests, "is already here." However, both modernizers and their "fundamentalist" opposites call themselves reformers, and the victory of the former is not assured.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

From Booklist
Aslan's introduction to the history of Islam, which also devotes several chapters to the place of Islam in the contemporary world, tackles its subject with serious and well-informed scholarship. But, miracle of miracles, it's actually pretty fun to read. Beginning with an exploration of the religious climate in the years before the Prophet's Revelation, Aslan traces the story of Islam from the Prophet's life and the so-called golden age of the first four caliphs all the way through European colonization and subsequent independence. Aslan sees religion as a story, and he tells it that way, bringing each successive century to life with the kind of vivid details and like-you-were-there, present-tense narration that makes popular history popular. Even so, the depth and breadth here will probably be a bit heavy for some, who might better enjoy Karen Armstrong's shorter, if less authoritative, Islam (2000). That said, this is an excellent overview that doubles as an impassioned call to reform. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

See all Editorial Reviews

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1 comment:

John Kaiser said...

"...if the US pulled out of Iraq immediately, the first thing that both the Shia and Sunni would agree on would be the elimination of Al Quaeda and the second would be to guarantee peace and stability to Iraq, as they care more about sustaining peace there than anyone in the US government."

This thesis seems to be a bit problematic since most of the Arab world is run by strong-armed theocratic tyrants. Iraq was one of the few exceptions- as its tyrant was more secular than any of his peers (at least those that come to mind in Iran, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, etc.).

But how can one say with any credibility that if the U.S. pulled out tomorrow Sunnis and Shia would get along and fight Al Quaeda side-by-side when it took a ruthless dictator to make them live together for the last few decades. And under his rule one group was (despite their majority status) near second class citizens, while the other (in the minority) held almost every key position in Saddam's regime.

Having opposed this war from the beginning, I would like to hope for a peaceful solution. Sadly, I think that when the U.S. pulls out (like it eventually must) there will be much bloodshed and pain for a while. How long? I couldn't tell you. Eventually things will quiet down in Iraq- most likely as a result of Al Quaeda's suicide bombers turning their attention back to the U.S.

But I am all for hoping things will work out well. However, I think the author's your present are taking a very idealistic view of the current situation and its possible outcomes.

BTW great blog.

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