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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enlightening and helpful to understanding the unfolding change!
Few scholars have the knowledge and ability to give readers as great an insight into Muslim society and culture as Tariq Ramadan, and "Islam and the Arab Awakening" is perhaps the most insightful book this far on the current wave of unrest in the Muslim world. Approaching this book I was reminded of the somewhat apocryphal statement attributed to Zhou Enlai when asked...
Published 23 months ago by Todd Bartholomew

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23 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revolutions and Islamist apologist.....
The author is the Swiss born grandson of Hassan el Bana, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. His father Said Ramadan was banished from Egypt by Gamal Abdel Nasser for acts against the state. Mr. Ramadan has an established academic reputation and has taught in various European Universities and is supposedly the face of modern European Islam. In 2000, Time magazine...
Published 22 months ago by Sinohey


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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enlightening and helpful to understanding the unfolding change!, September 22, 2012
This review is from: Islam and the Arab Awakening (Hardcover)
Few scholars have the knowledge and ability to give readers as great an insight into Muslim society and culture as Tariq Ramadan, and "Islam and the Arab Awakening" is perhaps the most insightful book this far on the current wave of unrest in the Muslim world. Approaching this book I was reminded of the somewhat apocryphal statement attributed to Zhou Enlai when asked about the French Revolution. His response, "It's too soon to tell." That would be a fitting leitmotif for Ramadan, as it is too soon to tell where the Arab Spring or Jasmine Revolution are going, as it is still unfolding and will likely differ depending on the country and the responses to how it unfolds. Ramadan debunks a number of preconceived notions about the Muslim world, society, and culture, and those insights are desperately needed to better understand what is occurring. There is no monolithic Muslim world, society, and culture; it is as diverse, divided, and diffuse as any other culture. And as one of the foremost scholars, thinkers, and philosophers in the Muslim world Ramadan has unique insights he shares with readers. Ramadan is the grandson of one of the founders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and related to other leading lights in the reformist movement. To most Westerner's that may seem frightening, but the Muslim Brotherhood is not as extreme as the Salafist or Wahhabi sects who wish a return to strict Sharia laws. Ramadan gives some insight into the various Islamic sects, the philosophies, and current influence in the present-day Muslim world that help readers understand the fissures and fractures that exist and how they are playing out. Granted, it doesn't make for easy reading for the uninitiated yet it points to the complications and difficulties that exist in the Muslim world. In the immediate post Caliphate, World War II, and de-colonization eras what emerged was the proto-typical totalitarian dictatorship model, which brooked no dissent, crushed opposition regardless of how much blood was spilled, and demanded loyalty from all subjects regardless of what divisions existed out fear. Most survived by playing minorities off other minorities, a method that worked well until the lid was suddenly lifted off the pot as happened in Afghanistan in 2002, Iraq in 2003, and with the Arab Spring in 2011. The result is roiling tensions that can no longer be controlled by an iron-fisted dictator and which spill over into the public sphere with bloody consequences.

Ramadan approaches what is unfolding with a clear critical eye. The changes that are occurring are neither inherently good nor bad, they are simply change. It is what occurs with this change and how it unfolds that will help change the Muslim world either for good or for bad. As a longtime critic of undemocratic totalitarian regimes he was labeled an enemy of the state and censored throughout the Muslim world. The use of electronic media by the elites has clearly opened new venues for thought, dialog, and mobilization in ways there were previously unimagined in heavily censored societies. But as Ramadan points out it is merely a tool is not only used by reformists and progressives but by Salafists and Wahhabists alike. The public space and forums have no been opened for engagement and dialog for all Muslims which is encouraging and a bit frightening. We are entering a new phase of Muslim culture and there is no way to predict how it will unfold and what paths it may take, and much of it may depend on individual cultures in each region. Much of this region was never allowed self-determination, to figure out what there place was, who they are, and who they should be. Boundaries of countries were arbitrarily drawn by European powers with little regard to the indigenous peoples and their relationship with each other. Their identities aren't so much to an arbitrary country, but are more clan based, ethnicity based, culturally based, religion based, and so on. We need to rethink the Muslim world in its entirety and be flexible as what it constitutes is clearly changing. Like Christianity there are profound nuances and differences in the Muslim world that aren't always easily understood or explained. "Islam and the Arab Awaking" takes readers towards a greater and fuller understanding.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Word Of Warning, February 22, 2014
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Everyone should read this who cares about the future of mankind and the history of the world. Are you ready?
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a vision of a fairer, more equitable world, January 3, 2014
By 
W. Jamison "William S. Jamison" (Eagle River, Ak United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Islam and the Arab Awakening (Hardcover)
TR's excellent summation of the events to date and his analysis of what factors have led to these events and continues to exercise some control over them is summed up in "Arundhati Roy's conclusion: the Arab awakening must be seen primarily as a way to open the Middle East to the neo-liberal economy." (p. 58) In describing what Islam is a persistent issue that TR brings up in his books is that Islam includes all of the traditions associated with the Qur'an and Sunna (p.68) As part of these traditions TR includes many ethnic traditions that I am convinced have nothing to do with Islam but instead are pre-civilized behaviors that ought to end when a society becomes modern - or more specifically, modern modern (in the sense that Joseph Margolis uses it in his book Pragmatism Ascendent: A Yard of Narrative, a Touch of Prophecy.) But this is because I do not know what they are, while they seem clear to him - as well they should be since he is an Islamic Scholar and I am not. But certainly he goes on in this book to point out the wealth of different interpretations of those traditions - which is where I find that I understand them. I do not see the abstract principles which he does and uses to define Islam. But his description of the differences and the historical variants is terrific. Especially, the way he describes the way "Secular" has come to be viewed as an imposition on various ME NA societies and so has a terribly different connotation to Islamic ears than to Western ears. Instead of free, it is associated with despotic imposition of non-religion. So how then would the modern modern grow when it is instead associated with despotism? It his exposition of these problems TR shines with more clarity than any other writer I am familiar with to this point. And then he fine tunes the challenge: "can the Arab individual in particular, and Muslims in general, emerge as subjects of their own history by refusing to view that history as a representation produced by the West or as an instrument of its power?" (p. 97) Each must "undertake an intellectual and practical commitment to put forward a vision of a fairer, more equitable world." Much of the book then becomes a perfect example of what TR describes as the Rand Corporations description of the "moderate Muslim", though granted through some of the Bush administration years he was considered a potential terrorist! The irony! The sweeping abstractions of the ideals of Islamic Ethics and how they should affect economics and politics not just in the MENA countries but in International politics too, is all very idealistic. True too, the West is no longer what it was but includes people from everywhere. Change takes place. I also found his references to Edward Said's Orientalism to be inspiring. (I recently read Edward Said's daughter's book on her life Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused in an Arab-American Family.) It is also scary to me as a father to hear that his own daughter and son were present during the events in Liberation Square. I hope they are well. And last, but not least, his inclusion of his publications during the events up until May 2012 to give the book historical worth as well as intellectual interest for me. An exciting book written at an exciting time!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A different perspective of ongoing changes in the region, April 18, 2013
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This review is from: Islam and the Arab Awakening (Hardcover)
This was my first reading of any of Tareq Ramadan's books, and it left me very impressed. I thought of it as very very objective, he doesn't cater to any side and backs his conclusions with many facts. I think those on both sides of the debate whether be it the Islamists or the Liberals would find more common ground presented in this book than many would have ever thought. It is a must read for anyone who wants to get an understanding of the Arab Spring, and what led to it. However; it is too early to predict the outcome.
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23 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revolutions and Islamist apologist....., October 9, 2012
This review is from: Islam and the Arab Awakening (Hardcover)
The author is the Swiss born grandson of Hassan el Bana, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. His father Said Ramadan was banished from Egypt by Gamal Abdel Nasser for acts against the state. Mr. Ramadan has an established academic reputation and has taught in various European Universities and is supposedly the face of modern European Islam. In 2000, Time magazine hailed him as one of the world's top 100 innovators of the 21st Century and top 7th religious leader, and again in 2004 as one of the 100 top intellectuals in the world. And yet he was denied a US entry visa for six years "for terrorist links"until it was granted in 2010. He advocates a reformist tolerant form of Islam for the West, more in compliance with the local culture such as African Islam or Asian Islam, yet when challenged he falls back to fundamentalism. As an example, in 2003, in a debate with President Sarkozy, Ramadan hedged on women's rights and refused to condemn the stoning of adulterers under "sharia". Ramadan is very critical of several French Jewish intellectuals such as Glucksman, Finkielkraut, Kouchner, Adler and Bernard-Henri Levy for their alleged support for zionist Israel at the expense of universal human rights.
In this book, the author hails the nationalistic uprisings in the Middle East but delves into conspiracy theories about the role of the American corporations and government instigating the uprisings "to open up the Arab market and integrating it into the global market". He also worries about the direction of the new regimes away from fundamental Islam and gives the Iranian revolution as an example to emulate, to "moralize politics in the name of Islam". The first half of the book is a good dose of polemics against the evil west conspiring to corrupt the Islamic states by supporting it despots, and where everyone is part of the greater conspiracy, including NATO and El Jazeera. The second part of the tome is how to achieve the Islamic utopia where "religious tolerance and democratic pluralism" and "recognition of equal rights for all citizens" as well as "the empowerment of women" and so on.
The author seems oblivious that in Egypt, the land of his forebears, where recently the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, religious persecution of Christian Copts and other non-muslims has increased dramatically, churches are sacked and burned and people are beaten and even killed. Women are forced into subordination to their male relatives, intimidated into wearing certain garments, generally oppressed and often brutalized into submission, even in the streets. The barbaric custom of female circumcision, after being officially banned since Nasser's time, is making a comeback mostly in the uneducated quarters under the increasingly pervasive influence of the Salaffis who are given free rein under the current regime.
I recommend the book to anyone interested in the Arab Islamist perspective on the recent Arab uprisings with the caveat that the reader should not suspend belief or be seduced by the pablum dished out. The author is a fundamental Islamist whose ultimate agenda is to Islamize the world, not by force but by seduction and subterfuge.
Finally, the book, 245 pages long, would have benefitted from careful editing and spell checking.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and interesting topics raised, December 25, 2012
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This review is from: Islam and the Arab Awakening (Hardcover)
Dr Ramadan has produced a very good effort trying to capture a fluid situation.

Although hard to effectively describe due to it being ongoing, the book highlights important issues.

When discussed in the context of at the time present events, there is a relevance to both the events and to the region's future.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Islam, the Arab Awakening, October 2, 2012
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I am about half way through this interesting and well researched work. Ramadan appears to be well versed in the subject and his writing style makes the book a pleasing read. The only knit pick thus far has to do with the inordinate number of typos and orthographic errors. It seems as though neither author nor editor did much, if any proof reading. But this last should not dissuade anyone from reading this worthwhile book. Jcm
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, December 23, 2012
By 
rmb7500 (West Peoria, IL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Islam and the Arab Awakening (Hardcover)
I am about halfway through this book now, and it has been extremely interesting. The author gives the history that lead up to the current situation, and his opinions on the politics. You may or may not agree with his politics, but it is well worth the read to get the history and the facts of what is going on.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ramadan on Arab Awakening, February 6, 2013
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This review is from: Islam and the Arab Awakening (Hardcover)
I have read quite a few books by Tariq.
He is the leading Islamic intellectual.

I have yet to evaluate this book.
Recommend it others.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Optimism in this coming world., September 20, 2012
By 
Joepr (Bayamon, Puerto Rico) - See all my reviews
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In order to better understand what's happening around the whole world, this book is an essential piece of information.
The ARAB WORLD is an important, very important piece of the history of the human being since the beginning and will continue to be as we walk to the end.
We humans always look to the future with a cloud of uncertainty, especially when the different media news broadcast only pieces of the reality the world is living day by day.

This book brings a more complete picture of one of the most influent people in the whole world, ARAB and MUSLIM countries.

It is time to examine the way we think and set our universal humanistic priorities.
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Islam and the Arab Awakening
Islam and the Arab Awakening by Tariq Ramadan (Hardcover - October 1, 2012)
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