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Hussein M. H. Allam RSS Feed (Giza, Egypt)
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The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists
The Great Theft: Wrestling Islam from the Extremists
by Khaled Abou El Fadl
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.72
84 used & new from $3.64

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremenly interesting and powerful book, October 6, 2007
In the midst of the confusion and misunderstanding that surrounds Islam from both Muslims and non-Muslims alike, this book manages to cut through all the chaos and re-examine all the issues. Through solid arguments, Abou El Fadl manages to pose a formidable challenge to all extremists who have hijacked the faith. In just under 300 pages, he launches a massive counterattack on extremist groups, surgically dissects their misguided beliefs, and slams their poisonous ideology.

Moderate Muslims who were bewildered and shocked into inaction following the September 11 disaster now have the intellectual ammunition to retake the initiative and rescue their religion from the likes of Bin Laden. For non-Muslims, the book will reveal the complexities of Islam (rather than the cartoonish version promoted by the media) and its rich history of scholarship and philosophical enquiry... all while steering clear of any attempt to convert the reader.

Every once in a while, a book emerges with the power to influence the course of history. This is one of those books. "The Great Theft" has given moderate Muslims a much needed fighting chance!


Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide
Islamic Monuments in Cairo: The Practical Guide
by Caroline Williams
Edition: Paperback
20 used & new from $4.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulous yet concise, an amazing guide book, January 22, 2007
Caroline Williams has set the standard for all future books dealing with Cairo's Islamic heritage. Each chapter covers a specific area in medieval Cairo and starts with a list of the structures to be discussed. The buildings are ranked according to quality - a feature that tourists with limited time will find invaluable. The book reads easily and in addition to describing the architectural features of the mosques, palaces and madrasas goes on to give a brief history of each monument's builder. Detailed and accurate maps are given at the end of the book. An introductory chapter describing the features of Islamic architecture in general is included. However, if you're looking for a book of photographs this is not it.


Alwaleed : Businessman, Billionaire, Prince
Alwaleed : Businessman, Billionaire, Prince
by Riz Khan
Edition: Hardcover
33 used & new from $1.86

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, August 4, 2006
This is an interesting look at the Prince's life. Definitely worth the time. I was surprised to find out that Al Waleed is largely a self made billionare. Hard work does pay off after all.


The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad
The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad
by Fareed Zakaria
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.07
355 used & new from $0.01

15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening but lacks something, May 24, 2003
Dr. Zakaria's argument that democracy does not necessarily equate to freedom or liberty comes as a revelation. Democracy is merely a means to an end not an end intself. That end is constitutional liberalism. Equally important is Dr. Zakaria's argument that institutions dealing with highly technical issues such as tax policy should be shielded against the democratic process. He cites the independence of the Federal Reserve and the Supreme Court from the electorate as the main reason behind their effectiveness. This book will certainly shape the future debate about democracy.
Although Dr. Zakaria presents a powerful thesis he sometimes slips and makes absurd statements. For example in his chapter about Islam he says:
"Quranic condemnations of usury and gambling, the dietary restrictions, the requirement for fasting - are all similar to precepts in the bible. But Christians live in societies that modernized politically, economically, and socially, and , along the way adapted their faith... The Bible still condemns masturbation, usury, and the wearing of woven cloth; Christian societies just no longer see it as an authority on these matters."
Does Dr. Zakaria mean that Muslims should abandon the restrictions that their religion puts on the drinking of wine and the consumption of pork if they are to achieve a liberal political system? Should they abandon the mandatory fasting during the month of Ramadan? Should they abandon the regulations imposed on immoral sexual behaviour? This is simply absurd and has nothing to do with the determination of the type of political system that a country adopts. (For the record, unlike Christianity, Islam does not ban the wearing of woven cloth).
Dr. Zakaria's background as a journalist may be to blame for some of these simplistic remarks. Like Thomas Friedman before him in the "Lexus and the Olive Tree", there is a sense of fluffiness and amateurism. It just does not have that extra something that distinguishes a masterpiece from a merely good book.
Ignoring such slips, the book fails to provide a framework in which the democratic system could be adjusted to address its inherent flaws. For this reason I do not consider this book ground breaking but rather a precursor for a much more powerful and revolutionary book. Expect such a book to pop up within the next ten years and expect it to have an impact akin to that of "The Wealth of Nations" or "The Communist Manifesto".


Hard Heads, Soft Hearts: Tough-minded Economics For A Just Society
Hard Heads, Soft Hearts: Tough-minded Economics For A Just Society
by Alan S. Blinder
Edition: Paperback
Price: $16.66
106 used & new from $0.01

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful yet unintended message!, May 3, 2003
Mr. Blinder does a great job of setting forth sound economic policies that should be adopted by any nation. His chapter on protecting the environment was particularly enlightening. However, I disagree with him on one very specific issue:
- On page 63, Mr. Blinder argues that employees should get a share of a company's net income rather than a fixed wage rate. This is no less than a recipe for disaster. How do you define a company's net income? Upper management would spend most of its time devising ways to understate their results while employees would make a great effort to dispute the company's income statement. In the end the holy grail of economic efficiency would be lost as both parties squabble endlessly. Just look how easily Enron cooked its books.
What really struck me as fantastic was Mr. Blinder's brilliant if unintentional critique of American style democracy. He did this by showing how often the American political process produces mediocre results that fly in the face of simple economics. He turns the spotlight on the damaging effects of lobbying by powerful groups and their vested interests. This was particularly apparent in his chapter on tax reform.
I recommend this title to anyone who is interested in setting society on the road to prosperity. I would also recommend it to anyone interested in knowing just how harmful the US's corrupt brand of democracy is. Perhaps this book's greatest contribution lies in raising the following question:
How can a system be devised that safeguards the ideals of democrarcy and freedom without compromising economic efficiency and equity?


Crusader
Crusader
25 used & new from $1.05

8 of 31 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great Music; Cartoonish and slanderous history, May 2, 2003
This review is from: Crusader (Audio CD)
There is no disputing Chris De Burg's talent. His music is powerful and his voice is terrific. My only quarrel with this cd is about the last track.
Anyone who has read just a tiny bit of history would know that there were no greater commanders than Saladin or Richard the Lionheart. Each proved to be a brillaint strategist. In fact the two sides fought with such valour and brilliance that the conflict ended in a stalemate.
And now after hundredrs of years have passed comes Chris De Burg (with his great music and excellent voice) to commit slander against Saladin and belittle him with stupid lyrics: "High on a hill... there stood Saladin, king of the Saracens. Whoring and drinking and snoring...". To put this in prespective, its as if some Arab singer calls the greatly admired president Kennedy a drunkard and a sex maniac. This is of course apalling and completely unacceptable.
Shame on you Chris De Burgh for twisting history and defaming one of its greatest heroes. I suggest that you make amends and recompose the song to depict the true picture of Saladin and his Saracens.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 31, 2013 6:12 PM PST


Blade Runner (The Director's Cut)
Blade Runner (The Director's Cut)
DVD ~ Harrison Ford
Offered by Maple Bar Movies
Price: $14.99
347 used & new from $0.01

4 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I hated it!, March 29, 2003
Although I'm a Harrison Ford Fanatic, I simply hated this movie. Frankly I don't know what all the fuss was about. If you're looking to spend a few bucks buy an Indiana Jones instead. I would recommned "the Last Crusade" in which Sean Connery Co-stars.


The American Heritage New History of WWII
The American Heritage New History of WWII
by Stephen E. Ambrose
Edition: Hardcover
77 used & new from $0.79

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellently illustrated volume, March 20, 2003
Zulzberger's book makes excellent use of photographs to enmesh the reader in the era of WWII. In addition, ample annotation and explanations are given. Highly recommended.


The First World War: A Complete History
The First World War: A Complete History
by Martin Gilbert
Edition: Paperback
81 used & new from $0.01

7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Reading Blind!, March 20, 2003
The book's value is severly compromised by the lack of maps. It is impossible to follow the progress of the war and to understand exactly what is going on. I was so frustrated that I had to pull out an atlas and try to pinpoint the areas that the author was refering to. In the end I just gave up and the book has been gathering dust in my library ever since.


Lionhearts: Richard 1, Saladin, and the Era of the Third Crusade
Lionhearts: Richard 1, Saladin, and the Era of the Third Crusade
by Geoffrey Regan
Edition: Hardcover
61 used & new from $0.25

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtaking.... a window on the past., March 2, 2003
Regan does a fantastic job of bringing the historical characters of the period to life. He is not biased to either side and does a good job of presenting the facts. Although he tries to enter into the minds of his subjects, his efforts enrich rather than detract from the narrative. Regan's talents as a writer are obvious. He thrusts the reader deep into the conflict and leaves him to suffer in suspense as each battle is fought out. I am an Egyptian reader and for once I have found a 'Western' book that ignores the fanaticism and shallowness of our deeply troubled age. I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in the crusades, medieval warfare or history in general.


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