Rock the Casbah
Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World
By Robin B. Wright
(Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781439103166, 307pp.)
Publication Date: July 19, 2011
List Price: $26.99*
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Robin Wright, an acclaimed foreign correspondent and television commentator, has witnessed the angry birth, violent rise, and globalization of Islamic militancy for almost four decades. In her recent reporting, she discovers a stunning new trend spreading within the Muslim world--the rejection of Islamic extremists. This is a historic evolution, slow to take off but now reaching critical mass. This trend is increasingly visible as clerics publicly repudiate Osama bin Laden, Muslim comedians ridicule militancy altogether, young Muslims rap against guns and bombs, women scholars launch liberation movements using the Koran, Pakistani villagers resist Taliban intrusions, and former Egyptian jihadis debate and then denounce violence.
This new jihad, which Wright describes in its many manifestations, has various goals. For some Muslims, it's about reforming the faith. For others, it's about reforming political systems. For all, it is about achieving basic rights--on their own terms, not Western ones. What is at its heart is the rejection of venomous ideologies, suicide bombs, plane hijackings, hostage-takings, and mass violence.
Muslims, Wright demonstrates, are doing what the West cannot--confronting extremism on its own terms and rescuing the faith from a virulent minority and changing history.
Syria is just one of the many countries across the Arab world where citizens have taken to the streets for change, often at great cost to themselves. A book out this coming week looks at what may be roiling in the Middle East, from Tunisia to Tehran. It's called Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World. Host Scott Simon speaks with journalist and foreign policy analyst Robin Wright about her book. More at NPR.org
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