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Islam by Karen ArmstrongNo religion in the modern world is as feared and misunderstood as Islam. It haunts the popular Western imagination as an extreme faith that promotes authoritarian government, female oppression, civil war, and terrorism. Karen Armstrong's short history offers a vital corrective to this narrow view. The distillation of years of thinking and writing about Islam, it demonstrates that the world's fastest-growing faith is a much richer and more complex phenomenon than its modern fundamentalist strain might suggest. Islam: A Short History begins with the flight of Muhammad and his family from Medina in the seventh century and the subsequent founding of the first mosques. It recounts the origins of the split between Shii and Sunni Muslims, and the emergence of Sufi mysticism; the spread of Islam throughout North Africa, the Levant, and Asia; the shattering effect on the Muslim world of the Crusades; the flowering of imperial Islam in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries into the world's greatest and most sophisticated power; and the origins and impact of revolutionary Islam. It concludes with an assessment of Islam today and its challenges. With this brilliant book, Karen Armstrong issues a forceful challenge to those who hold the view that the West and Islam are civilizations set on a collision course. It is also a model of authority, elegance, and economy.
Publication Date: 2000-08-22
After the Prophet by Lesley HazletonIn this gripping narrative history, Lesley Hazleton tells the tragic story at the heart of the ongoing rivalry between the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, a rift that dominates the news now more than ever. Even as Muhammad lay dying, the battle over who would take control of the new Islamic nation had begun, beginning a succession crisis marked by power grabs, assassination, political intrigue, and passionate faith. Soon Islam was embroiled in civil war, pitting its founder's controversial wife Aisha against his son-in-law Ali, and shattering Muhammad's ideal of unity. Combining meticulous research with compelling storytelling, After the Prophet explores the volatile intersection of religion and politics, psychology and culture, and history and current events. It is an indispensable guide to the depth and power of the Shia-Sunni split.
Political Identities and Popular Uprisings in the Middle East by Leech Holiiday; Shabnam J. Holiiday (Editor); Philip Leech (Editor)Identity plays an important part in terms of how we imagine our relationship with the state and governing bodies. If we know who we are, then we can know and articulate what we want as political actors. This book examines the relationship between identity and political dissent in the context of the Arab and non-Arab Middle East by focusing on recent uprisings and protests in the region. The case studies here - Iran, Palestine, Israel, Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan - highlight a number of dynamics and different forms of resistance. These examples show how political identities are multiple, not static and that they are too complex to be reduced to superficial dichotomies of Islamism vs. secularism or Sunnism vs. Shi'ism. Through examining the relationship between everyday grassroots politics and the question of identity, as well as elite identity discourses, this volume presents a textured analysis of the region's dynamic political communities. This book explores how different identities must be navigated, negotiated and how they intersect at a time of dramatic change in the Middle East.
Publication Date: 2016-04-04
An Introduction to the Modern Middle East by David S. SorensonCombining elements of comparative politics with a country-by-country analysis, author David S. Sorenson provides a complete and accessible introduction to the modern Middle East. With an emphasis on the politics of the region, the text also dedicates chapters specifically to the history, religions, and economies of countries in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf, the Eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa. In each country chapter, a brief political history is followed by discussions of democratization, religious politics, women's issues, civil society, economic development, privatization, and foreign relations. In this updated and revised second edition, An Introduction to the Modern Middle East includes new material on the Arab Spring, the changes in Turkish politics, the Iranian nuclear issues, and the latest efforts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma. Introductory chapters provide an important thematic overview for each of the book's individual country chapters and short vignettes throughout the book offer readers a chance for personal reflection.