From Publishers Weekly
This book capably argues for a return to the true spirit of classical Islamic intellectualism, disregarding the distractions and obstacles created by the West. Its strongest chapter, "Recollecting the Spirit of Jihad" by Reza Shah-Kazemi, marshals the history and traditions of the noble Muslim warrior, who never killed out of revenge, protected Jews from slaughter and embodied the true spirit of jihad
, which means an inner spiritual struggle. The writer contrasts heroes of Muslim history, like Saladin, with the manipulative terrorists of Al-Qaeda, who politicize and deliberately misconstrue jihad. In the following essay, "Roots of Misconception," Ibrahim Kalin contends that propaganda against Islam, from the Crusades through contemporary movies and news media, is responsible for the inaccurate Western view that Islam needs to be modernized. T.J. Winter's "The Poverty of Fanaticism" contains probably the first academic recognition of the phenomenon of "salafi burnout,'" which takes place when a college-age male follower of the literalist Wahhabi/Salafi philosophy trades his conservative views, beard and religious dress for a Western girlfriend and capitalistic outlook. Although all the authors are Western Muslims—a quality rightly admired by Seyyed Hossein Nasr in his foreword—the absence of an essay by a Muslim woman is glaring. This book is a good resource for progressive Muslims, graduate students and readers already well versed on the politics of Islamic theology.
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About the Author
Joseph Lumbard is the founder of The Islamic Research Institute and is currently Professor of Islamic Studies in the Arabic Studies Department of The American University in Cairo. He is a specialist in Sufism and Islamic Philosophy, and has had numerous articles published in journals of traditionalism, comparative religion, and philosophy. In the wake of September 11, 2001, Dr. Lumbard founded the Islamic Research Institute (IRI) to provide a forum in which Muslim scholars are able to contextualize issues pertaining to Islam and apply the traditional teachings of Islam to the exigencies of modern life.