Islam, Democracy, and the West
By Benazir Bhutto
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780061567582, 336pp.)
Publication Date: February 12, 2008
List Price: $27.95*
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Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October 2007, after eight years of exile, hopeful that she could be a catalyst for change. Upon a tumultuous reception, she survived a suicide-bomb attack that killed nearly two hundred of her countrymen. But she continued to forge ahead, with more courage and conviction than ever, since she knew that time was running out for the future of her nation, and for her life.
In Reconciliation, Bhutto recounts in gripping detail her final months in Pakistan and offers a bold new agenda for how to stem the tide of Islamic radicalism and to rediscover the values of tolerance and justice that lie at the heart of her religion. With extremist Islam on the rise throughout the world, the peaceful, pluralistic message of Islam has been exploited and manipulated by fanatics. Bhutto persuasively argues that America and Britain are fueling this turn toward radicalization by supporting groups that serve only short-term interests. She believed that by enabling dictators, the West was actually contributing to the frustration and extremism that lead to terrorism. With her experience governing Pakistan and living and studying in the West, Benazir Bhutto was versed in the complexities of the conflict from both sides. She was a renaissance woman who offered a way out.
In this riveting and deeply insightful book, Bhutto explores the complicated history between the Middle East and the West. She traces the roots of international terrorism across the world, including American support for Pakistani general Zia-ul-Haq, who destroyed political parties, eliminated an independent judiciary, marginalized NGOs, suspended the protection of human rights, and aligned Pakistani intelligence agencies with the most radical elements of the Afghan mujahideen. She speaks out not just to the West, but to the Muslims across the globe who are at a crossroads between the past and the future, between education and ignorance, between peace and terrorism, and between dictatorship and democracy. Democracy and Islam are not incompatible, and the clash between Islam and the West is not inevitable. Bhutto presents an image of modern Islam that defies the negative caricatures often seen in the West. After reading this book, it will become even clearer what the world has lost by her assassination.
“This book is an eloquent reflection of traits which defined the life of Benazir Bhutto—an unshakable optimism about the future, a firm belief in the power of dialogue, and a commitment to democracy.The strength of her message of hope underscores how much was lost in her tragic death.”
“This is one of the most gripping and important books of our era. It’s a brilliant manifesto for challenging radical Islam. Benazir Bhutto was an intense but charming woman driven by a crucial mission. Her death makes this beautiful book all the more poignant, and also more necessary.”
“Benazir Bhutto’s book is a powerful and insightful analysis of the formidable challenges that confronted an extraordinary woman who paid the ultimate price for daring to attempt to bring democracy to Pakistan. President Kennedy would have called her a Profile in Courage.”
“This is a courageous and powerful answer to hatred and intolerance, written by an extraordinary woman. Reading Benazir Bhutto’s Reconciliation shows just how much we lost with her death. You’ll finish it and mourn for what might have been.”
“It is impossible to understand today’s world without knowing Pakistan; and impossible to understand Pakistan without reading this book. A courageous woman—tragically killed—speaks to us of reconciliation. We owe it to her—and to ourselves—to listen, comprehend, and act.”
“Pakistan has become the critical battlefield in the so-called war on terror. Reconciliation is the story of a courageous woman and her struggle for democracy and moderation in Islam. Benazir Bhutto, not the extremists who killed her, represented the vast majority of Pakistani Muslims.”
“Benazir Bhutto will go down in history as a courageous leader who risked—and lost—her life in the service not only of her nation, but of values shared by us all. Anyone interested in Pakistan, democracy, or Islam should read this fascinating and important book.”