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The Arab Shi'a: The Forgotten Muslims Paperback – September 22, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (September 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312239564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312239565
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Within the Arab world, the Sunni population constitutes the majority and wields political power in every Arab state today. However, there are significant Shi'a communities in key Arab countries, and they constitute the majority of the population in Iraq and Bahrain and the plurality in Lebanon. For historical and political reasons, the Shi'a have fared rather poorly in much of the Arab world, and the topic of Shi'ism and Shi'a groups are among the most sensitive issues for the Sunni elite. In this lucid, highly readable, and timely book, Fuller, a RAND Corporation Middle East specialist, and Francke, executive director of the Iraq Foundation, provide an interesting and informative analysis of the travail of the Shi'a politics in the Arab world and explain various patterns of discrimination against the Arab Shi'a. This volume will appeal to scholars and informed readers alike and is a much-needed book in this neglected area of Arab politics. Recommended for academic and public libraries.ANader Entessar, Spring Hill Coll., Mobile, AL
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“This book is especially valuable for policy considerations....” —New York Times Book Review

“In this lucid, highly readable, and timely book, Fuller and Francke provide an interesting and informative analysis of the travail of the Shi'a politics in the Arab world and explain various patterns of discrimination against the Arab Shi'a.” —Library Journal

“...a sympathetic account of Shi'ah political problems in the select numbe of Arab countries and presents a long-range view of politics in the region...” —Islamic Studies

More About the Author

I first became smitten with the Middle East at age 16 while reading National Geographic magazines and being enticed by the exotic landscapes, the culture, and the crazy shapes of the Arabic language that I decided I had to learn. I studied a lot about the Middle East, and Russia, when I was in university. I always expected to become an academic, but my draft board deemed otherwise; I was drafted and sent into intelligence work. I had an extraordinary chance to learn about the Middle East first hand while serving as a CIA operations officer all over--Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Hong Kong for two decades. It was an education in itself, and a chance to travel and learn a lot of languages, which I loved.

I then "came in from the cold" and was appointed a top analyst at CIA for global forecasting. After 25 years with the US government I felt it was time to leave; I joined a major West Coast think tank (RAND)in California (no, nothing to do with Ayn Rand) where I was a senior political scientist. In 2004 I moved to Canada and, among other things, am now an adjunct professor of history at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. I never lost my interest in Islam, the Middle East and Asia and ended up writing many books on the subject --on Islamic fundamentalism, Shi'ite Islam, and Arab, Turkish, Kurdish and Persian politics. By now they amount to nearly a dozen books; my more recent ones include the well-received "The Future of Political Islam," and later the provocative "A World Without Islam."

My last book was a personal memoir, "Three Truths and a Lie." It's a painfully personal book about our Korean son, adopted at age one who sadly died of crack cocaine at age 21. Although it's a sad tale, many people have commented that they find it uplifting as well, which is personally very gratifying. I'm about to publish a new book, "Turkey and the Arab Spring" in April 2014 And I'm at work on a novel--yes, you guessed it-- about the Middle East.

I currently live in a small town in the Vancouver BC area; when I can break away from my desk I like to spend time on community issues dealing with with bears, eagles, and salmon. And mountain biking is good for the soul.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"... the West demonstrates a dangerous tendency to equate Sunnis with secularism and Shi'a with Islamic Movements. Neither is accurate."

This book should be required reading for all Western heads of state, attorneys general, members of congress and parliament, AND journalists.

The authors' outlook is counter to decades of American posturing and shows how current policies to "contain" the Shi'a in the region by the US and allies is a downward spiral and the exact opposite of what needs to happen if there is to be stability for all in the region.

This is an excellent discription of of how the Arab Shi'a have been marginalized in the Arab world, including those countries such as Iraq and Bahrain where they represent the confessional majority. The authors go on to attack western fears of Iranian led Shi'a revolution in the Arab world by delving into the religious, social and cultural differences between the Persian Shi'a and the Arab Shi'a and how the Arabs have historically in each country chosen race and nationality over sectarian alliances when push came to shove.

More shocking, as they review the conditions of the Shi'a in each country where they make up significant parts of the population, is the treatment of the Shi'a by fellow Muslims and Arabs. Especially in those cases where they represent a numerical minority. In those places the Shi'a are oppressed but cannot claim minority status, even though their own Shi'a sect may be marginalized or even unrecognized by the Sunni majority.

They go on to describe how this marginalization is a far greater threat to regional stability and the West's image in the region.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By electrical instructor on May 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some of the detail about "current state of affairs" is a little dated, but this book has great insight into the complex relationship between shia and sunni populations. Highly recommended.
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