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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Whitewashing Instead of Facing Facts on the Ground, November 3, 2010
This review is from: Engaging the Muslim World (Paperback)
Juan Cole articulates the mistakes of the younger Bush administration in dealing with the Islamic world effectively in this book. He also presented logically the chokehold that pro-Israel lobbyists hold over the political process in Washington. However, his recommendations are no more than wishful thinking in the current political atmosphere since none of them are likely to be implemented. He has no words on how to overcome the power of the pro-Israel lobby or the political realities in Washington.

The author is way off the mark on his narrative of violence and belligerence by the radical Islam. He is basically glossing over the problems within the Islamic society about their mistaken feeling of being victimized, their practice of committing violence even on ideological and rhetorical issues, their blind support to fellow Muslims even when they were on the wrong and simplifying the terrorism by Muslims as isolated acts of a few misguided. No other society in the contemporary world seem to commit the level of societal violence that Muslims have done whether in Chechnya, Europe, India or Middle East. Muslim intellectuals hardly ever seem to do any introspection over such violence and routinely defend their faith as if they are protecting a brand name. Until such introspection takes place within the Islamic society and they develop a new discourse to live peacefully in the modern pluralistic societies without demanding special privileges, any amount of reaching out to Muslims by others will be seen by all as appeasement. India experienced this first in the modern history by suffering dismemberment of their country.

I was very disappointed that the author accused Mahatma Gandhi of promoting a Hindu theocracy in India while negotiating independence from British (page 161, soft cover edition). I do not think that Dr. Cole is so naive that he would make such a gross mistake out of ignorance and I believe that he twisted his message to oversell his case about Islam. In the process he committed an unpardonable libel on Gandhi which he should retract and apologize for.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 4, 2011 10:04:48 PM PST
A.Z. says:
With all due respect sir, I do not believe you are familiar at all with the Muslim world at large. The level of "introspection," criticism, and guidance that exists within the Muslim sphere in regards to deviant groups has escaped you. I and other Muslims across the world condemn the war that Pakistan brought to India and Bangladesh, for instance. Our scholars speak against such oppression. However, to include Chechnya in your examples is absolutely incorrect. Chechnya before the cowardly assassination of Khattab was a model jihad against tyranny - of the Russians, who continue their oppression. I implore you to learn more about the Muslim world before generalizing so, and to make Cole a starting point, not an end. The greatest societal violence incurred in the last many centuries has not been at the hands of Muslims, sir, so review your facts there as well. While you are comfortable in Ann Arbor, the US military, NSA and CIA are working hard to keep the oil coming in. Your one-sided view is unfortunately typical for your ethnic group, which I share, and therefore understand.


In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2011 11:06:56 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Mar 5, 2011 9:14:29 PM PST]

Posted on Sep 20, 2014 1:41:40 AM PDT
Silent river says:
"about their mistaken feeling of being victimized"

The same thing "could" be said about your feelings about British rule in all your reviews. Like AZ said, you present a very one-sided picture. Perhaps as a result of being Hindu. And I'm not Muslim myself.
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI USA

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