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Passion for Islam: Shaping the Modern Middle East: The Egyptian Experience Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 1, 2002

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 1, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Murphy, a Pulitzer-winning journalist and former Cairo bureau chief for the Washington Post, puts Egypt at the center of the growth of Islamic extremism, because it "provides the ballast in Arab politics and diplomacy." Offering a vivid portrait of Egypt today, she attributes the spread of violent Islam to the interaction of three factors: a general reawakening of Islam, the reign of authoritarian governments in the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Lee H. Hamiltondirector, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and former chairman, House Committee on International RelationsDrawing on her vast experience living and reporting in Egypt, Caryle Murphy provides a sweeping account of Islam's powerful and complicated role in the Middle East. Passion for Islam illuminates the forces that have led to religious terrorism, and in doing so offers a vision for how these forces could be harnessed for peace and progress.

Judy WoodruffCNNCaryle Murphy takes us by the hand and introduces us to the people who are helping determine the future course of Islam. With her own passion for reporting and storytelling, she pulls us inside a world strange and forbidding to many Americans, but nevertheless vital for us to understand. She shows brilliantly how we have as much reason to hope for enlightenment and peace from the many corners of Islam as we do to fear more September 11ths.

Leslie H. Gelbpresident, Council on Foreign RelationsIn fine journalistic brushstrokes, Caryle Murphy lets you see how the Islamists would like to see themselves -- in all their subtle varieties and degrees of piety and lethality. While I assign more to the Islamists than the author for creating their own ills and ours, Murphy brings us much closer to Muslim minds, otherwise often caricatured in the West.

Raghida Derghamcolumnist for Al-HayatRarely does a book on religion and politics combine such journalistic excellence, impeccable research, and compelling stories. Each paragraph is a frame of history told meticulously with courage, fairness, and innovation.

Richard W. Murphysenior fellow, Middle East Council on Foreign RelationsThis is a timely, solid, and highly readable account by Caryle Murphy of conflicts within Islamic intellectual and religious circles as their leaders seek to relate their faith to today's changing political and economic conditions. Their attempts to create a modern Islamic society have led to tensions with the Egyptian government. In relating Egyptian developments to those in the broader Arab world, she persuasively demolishes the conventional wisdom that Egypt is unique and that Islam is monolithic. This book provides altogether a valuable set of insights for readers interested in getting beyond the stereotypical descriptions of Islamic thought advanced by both friends and critics of Islam in recent years. --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0743235789
  • ASIN: B00009NDB7
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,498,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A long-time reporter for the Washington Post, Murphy was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting and the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting for her coverage of Iraqi-occupied Kuwait and subsequent 1990-91 Gulf War.

While at the Post, Murphy served twice as a foreign correspondent, first in Southern Africa during the tumultuous era that followed the Soweto uprising and police slaying of black leader Steve Biko. In the early 1990s, she was appointed the paper's Cairo bureau chief, responsible for covering the Arab world.

In 1990, Murphy was in Kuwait when Iraq forces crossed the border and occupied the emirate. She remained there for almost a month, part of that time in hiding from Iraqi troops. She escaped from Kuwait to Saudi Arabia in the back seat of a Range Rover that was part of a caravan of Kuwaitis fleeing their homeland across the desert. In the months that followed, Murphy was part of the Post team that covered the Gulf War from Saudi Arabia.

When not overseas, Murphy covered U.S. immigration policy, U.S. federal court in Alexandria, Va. and religion for the Post. In 2005, she did a three-month tour of duty in Baghdad.

She was the 1994-1995 Edward R. Murrow Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. Her first book, Passion for Islam, explores Islam's contemporary revival and the roots of religious extremism in the Middle East. It examines Islam's resurgence through the prism of Egypt, where Murphy lived for five years.

Murphy left the Post in 2006 to pursue an independent journalism career. She worked for five months at the paper's web site, where she helped launch "On Faith," the Post's online feature dedicated to religion.

From 2008 to 2011, she was based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where she reported for the Christian Science Monitor, GlobalPost and The National.

She was a public policy scholar in the Middle East program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC from 2011 to 2012. Her fellowship was spent researching and writing her forthcoming book, A Kingdom's Future: Saudi Arabia Through the Eyes of Its Twentysomethings.

Before deciding to become a journalist, Murphy spent two years teaching in Kenya. She also climbed two mountains (Kenya and Kilimanjaro) and trekked in the jungle of Papua New Guinea. Her first stint as a foreign correspondent was in Angola, where she reported on its post-independence civil war as a stringer for Newsweek, NBC Radio, the London Sunday Times and the Washington Post. Upset at Murphy's reporting, Angolan authorities put her under house arrest for ten days and then expelled her. She joined the Post shortly afterwards.

Murphy was raised in Massachusetts in a large, boisterous and affectionate family. She is a graduate of Trinity University in Washington, D.C., and Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.


Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting - 1991
George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting - 1990
Edward Weintal Diplomatic Reporting Prize - 1991
Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award - 1994
Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women's Media Foundation - 1990
Knight Luce Fellowship for Reporting on Global Religion 2011
Gerald A. Renner Enterprise Religion Report of the Year Award (second place) from Religion Newswriters Association - 2012

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Whitt Patrick Pond TOP 1000 REVIEWER on September 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Passion For Islam is a great book for anyone interested in learning something about the rise of various Islamic movements in Egypt over the years. One of the books strengths is its focus on the specific experience of Egypt, where the author lived and worked as a journalist for several years during the 1990's. Murphy doesn't attempt to assess or explain what's happening in the Islamic world in general, or to draw broad conclusions on matters beyond the specific scope of the book, i.e. the Egyptian experience.
Murphy works in historical details in a very clear fashion, mixing them with current-day journalism and interviews with people from all levels of the Egyptian social and political scenes. You get to hear from people inside or aligned with various movements, people in the Egyptian government, and most importantly, the ordinary people in the middle whose lives are affected by these forces. She shows in great detail the complexity and diversity of thought and feelings at work, and how what's happening cannot be understood in simple black-or-white interpretations.
I found that my own understanding of the situation was greatly enhanced by reading this book. Murphy's book does not provide solutions as much as a look at what is happening and a warning. These rising movements are not monolithic in their beliefs or in their goals, and should not be treated as such. And they do not occur in a vacuum. Unless the climate in which they have sprung up -- a poor country under a corrupt, inept faux-democratic government that suppresses all discussion and dissent -- is changed, they will only continue to grow as the only alternative available.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By AnnReviews on December 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I just caught up to an excellent book by Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Caryle Murphy, who spent three years in Cairo as Egypt's bureau chief for the Washington Post. During that time, Murphy covered the first Iraqi war and spent countless hours meeting and interviewing Egyptian citizens, as well as the powerhouses who help shape Middle Eastern policy. We Americans on the home front, traditionally ignorant about other cultures, have much to learn from this informative, easy-to-read book.

In Passion for Islam Murphy produces a consolidated picture of a process that is taking place across the Arab world, and affecting the planet as a whole. Starting with the end of the socialist promise of the Nasser era all the way through the violence that rocked Egypt in the nineties, Murphy carefully follows the development of Islamist insurgency through its various forms. Breaking down each step in the movement's growth to its simplest parts, she is able to differentiate the facets of Islam in Egypt that played into the development of radical Islamist behavior.

Murphy identifies three main parts of the radical Islamist movement, "Pious Islam," "Political Islam," and Cultural Islam." Her thorough discussion of each succeeds in illuminating the various and complex aspects of the web of Egyptian life, through which religion is a common thread. Whether it is the grounding force of a family living in poverty, or a tool by which the unscrupulous seize power, Murphy examines Islam's role in the lives of all Egyptians, and the trends both personal and national that have begun under its shadow of influence.

In this new world after 9/11 many books have appeared that address this issue in one way or another, and do so with various success.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have long been secrety embarrassed by my lack of knowledge about Egypt beyond the usual touristy stuff -- even though I spent some weeks there once seeing the sights and even though, more recently, I've recognized in sidelong ways that Egypt's modern history and in particular its struggle to cope with repeated waves of Islamicist extremism within its borders offers a lesson very relevant for those of us now trying to understand the Post-9/11 world. Murphy cured me of my ignorance with her compelling descriptions and analyses of the forces -- political, religious, cultural -- that have shaped that land.She does so in part with smart use of colorful characters she got to know during her time covering the region as a Washington Post reporter, and from scads of research... Cleanly organized, thorough, insightful. A very helpful and yet enjoyable read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Murphy's considerable expertise and experience with the Arab World resoundingly comes through in this wonderful book. Ms. Murphy combines the intellect of Albert Hourani, the passion of Karen Armstrong and the travel narrative of William Dalrymple in bringing to light an intimate view of Egyptian society. Spanning a wide breadth of information, the reader is treated to a comprehensive history and background of the Islamic reform movement in Egypt, providing biographies of the movement's luminaries. Continuing with a cause-effect assessment of Egyptian and Islamic issues, Ms. Murphy offers insight as to what the future holds for the Islamic world. Moving effortlessly between the personal and the analytical, this book is a must read for Muslims and non-Muslims alike if they are interested in this region and its people.
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