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Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic lllusion of an Islamic State 1st Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470841167
ISBN-10: 0470841168
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Editorial Reviews


"I think this book is a positive contribution to the discussion about contemporary Islam and certainly a valuable addition to the voices that are critically looking at Islam's right-wing. . . . I don't think there is any other public intellectual in the North American arena -- Muslim or other -- who could have written this book." (HuffingtonPost.com, April 15th, 2008)

"...a book worthy of attention...both for its contents and for the courage of its author." (Haaretz, October 2008)


"Tarek Fatah has written a provocative and challenging book, which is a must-read for anyone who cares about these issues."--Janice Gross Stein, Director, Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto

"Chasing a Mirage is an extremely valuable contribution to the fight by progressive Muslims against Islamic fascism. This book should be required reading for the Left in the West who have mistakenly started believing that Islamists represent some sort of anti-imperialism."--Farooq Tariq, Secretary General, Pakistan Labour Party

"Fatah argues passionately for universalism instead of exclusivism, integration instead of ghettoism, and makes a powerful appeal for the silent majority of Muslims to speak out before it is too late. This work of courage and daring needs to be read widely."--Pervez Hoodboy, Professor, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

"This fascinating work by brave and brilliant Tarek Fatah is simultaneously thought-provoking, instructive and enlightening for laymen and scholars, Muslim and non-Muslim ... an invaluable and rare addition to the corpus of Islamic literature in the post 9/11 world, a bold step towards Islamic Reformation and Enlightenment."--Taj Hasmi, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu

"Tarek Fatah's is a voice that needs to be heard. Canada needs a healthy, reasoned debate about the issues he is raising, and indeed, so does the world."--Bob Rae, Member of Parliament, Canada



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (April 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470841168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470841167
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ali Inayatullah on May 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This recently published book is a blunt assessment of the root causes of extremism that are experienced in muslim communities. The auther pulls no punches and his extensively researched book is a gripping read.

Tarek explodes the myth of a "Golden age" that has become the rallying cry of Islamists, who want to impose their political ideology of Caliphate on both muslims and non-muslims. He has thrown the gauntlet to fellow muslims to reflect and educate themselves. From Sudan to Saudi Arabia, the author painstakingly highlights the clash between muslims who aspire to the spiritual message of their faith and the Islamists who want to warp faith for gaining political power. He has also covered in significant detail, the struggles of moderate and secular muslim Canadians against radical and Saudi/Irani funded Islamist groups who want to drag the failed experiments of their patrons into Canada; experiments that are a leading cause of ghettoizing and separation of muslims from non-muslims.

In exposing the dishonesty and moral bankruptcy of the Islamist agenda, the author has done extensive research and highlights that the harsh, backward and intolerant injunctions that have been sanctified as law by extremists wither and collapse when placed under the microscope of objective scholarship. A significant section of his book examines the struggle for political power and the sectarian schism that immediately followed the Prophet's death. This is scholarship that few muslims can openly discuss and which has already resulted in the targetted killings of minority muslims in Pakistan. His analytical approach to this sensitive and seldom discussed chapter of muslim history is unlikely to solve the Sunni-Shia polemics.
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Format: Hardcover
In the words of the Toronto Star, "Fatah broaches the mother of all taboos" in discussing the issue of what happened the night Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) died. He cites medieval historians like al-Tabari and contemporary scholars like Prof. Liyakat Takim and Prof. Mahmoud Ayoub (among others) to construct the events which lead to Fatah writing this most compelling sentence:

"When Muslims buried the Prophet, they also buried with him many of the universal values of Islam that they preached."

Fatah's opus could very well have three separate books; one on history outlining the period of Islam after The Prophet died in 632 CE to the death of the Abbasid caliphate of Baghdad at the hands of the Mongols in 1258.

In other parts of the book, Fatah discusses the so-called contemporary Islamic states--Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia---suggesting with compelling arguments and detailed citations that all three use Islam to oppress their populations and to destroy the human spirit.

In the book, Fatah demolishes the justification given by Islamists for the creation of an "Islamic State" based on sharia law. He argues that all that God and the Prophet demand of Muslims is to follow the religions five principles; none of whom require such a theocracy.

He exposes the tactic of Islamists who while promoting armed Jihad based on the teachings of such 20th century Islamists as the late Syed Qutb and Hassan al-Banna of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and Syed Maudoodi of the Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami, deceive western audiences by falsely claiming that "jihad" merely means an "inner struggle". Fatah cites from the works of both Maudoodi and Qutb--available in US and Canada--to prove his point.
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Format: Hardcover
CHASING A MIRAGE is a masterpiece from Tarek Fatah. I would call it the best book I have read in 2008 and I am quite a voracious reader, and an author of 46 books myself. An orthodox Muslim might find it offensive, but the truth is always bitter. For the open-minded, the work is an eye opener. It gives the reader plenty of material to look into the causes of the current global misery of Muslims. The great art of the author is that his criticism simultaneously points to the cure for the malaise of fundamentalism, extremism, and orthodoxy. I would advise the esteemed author to take possible verdicts of infidelity by Muslim clergy with a grain of salt.

The sensible among the Ummah will see Tarek as a sincere reformer. I wish him all the best.
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Format: Hardcover
Tarek Fatah has done his community a favor and the reading public a service by highlighting, at great personal risk, the problems he sees with Islamic fanaticism and the extremists desire to force-feed the illusion of an Islamic State on an unsuspecting world.

This book is worth reading because it is well-written, well-documented, and reaches out into uncharted waters. Hot-button items such as Human Rights in the Islamic context; the Apostasy Bill in Pakistan; Sharia laws; the Hijab controversy; and Jihad are discussed boldly and intelligently by the author.

One of his more fascinating chapters is the case study he has made of the Palestine-Israel problem which has been a global sore point for many years. He makes an excellent presentation showing that this problem could have been resolved had the Geneva Accord been implemented in 2003.

Most of the arguments presented by Tarek are in a thoughtful, reasoned way but it is in the chapter devoted to Jihad and specifically the "lesser" jihad (war in the cause of Islam) that he is most forthright

It takes courage to write a book like this. After making an honest appraisal of the malaise that affects Muslims he makes a plea to them to "oppose the extremists and present the more humane and tolerant face of our community" to the world. His may be just a voice in the wilderness but as Mother Teresa said in context, "What we are doing is only a drop in the ocean but the ocean would be diminished by that one drop."

Throughout his life and through this book, Tarek has sought to make a difference. He is concerned that the young men of his community may be led by Islamic scholars and clerics to "blame others for our shortcomings" and seek violently to establish a mythical Islamic State.
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