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Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan, Islam and the West Paperback – November 15, 2011

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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An important book at the riskiest of times when Americans and Pakistanis--two peoples who have held close for more than sixty years see their relationship in peril. Husain's writing is a breath of fresh air amongst all the policy wonks trying to make sense of what is going on. --Ahmed Rashid. New York Times Bestselling Author of Taliban and Descent Into Chaos
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Arc Manor; First edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604504781
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604504781
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,381,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book includes a wonderful, extensive, honest, sincere and frank review of Muslim conflicts with many nations since 632 A.D. including the Byzantines, Persians, the Christian Crusades, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Irfan, who is one of the greatest writers in Pakistan, examines the history and previous conflicts from both Muslim and non-Muslim perceptions, and notes that there have been long periods of peaceful interactions between Islamic communities and western ones. He carefully examines the history of mutual-misunderstandings of the Middle East situation from many viewpoints.

He writes beautifully about his thoughts and perceptions regarding present attitudes and tensions of Muslims and non-Muslims, including discussions of 9/11, Iran, the invasion of Iraq, Jihadist propagandist use of the internet, Muslim hatred, denial, delusions, Islamophobia, hopes, dreams, and understandings. He explains Muslim perceptions of the "Ummah" and why some Muslims believe they have a "License to Kill". He discusses why many Muslim idealists believe in jihab as a utopian dream for the triumph of Islam and the rebirth of the Caliphate, which will lead to a better world, just as Americans believe that democracy and globalization are forces for good. He discusses how Americans and Europeans view many similar conflicts and events, from their own perceptions.

Irfan provides his perception as to what he terms "The Pakistani Paradox", where the original dream for a modern secular nation has been subverted,and explains why Pakistan and the U.S. have some, different perceptions and priorities in the Afghan conflict today. He paints a vivid picture of what Pakistan is like today!
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After a long career as both Pakistani diplomat and journalist, Irfan Hussein is in just the right place to make sense of the increasingly negative view of the United States held by a good deal of the Muslim world. He explains both the religious and historical background for the hatred as well as the ironic fasination with America. But this is not a dry scholarly book, rather one where 21st century issues are well illustrated with stories from the authors own travels and experiences.
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The conflict between the democratic polity and the Islamic ummah
affects half of humanity. Irfan Husain's book attempts to explain how
this conflict arose and why it does not end. It does not end because
the main actors, unable to distill facts from their perceptions of
events, remain locked in their 'narratives'. The author explains,
with extraordinary clarity, what these narratives are and how they
were nourished. He is able to see where others fail because he has
the rare facility of being able to empathize with both protagonists.
At the same time, he has his sympathies, and his book is addressed
mainly to the democratic polity.

In abstract terms, one may describe the conflict as one between a
world-view that harks back to a mythical past, and one that wants to
put the past behind (there is a lot to put behind) and to look to the
future. Pakistan, having metamorphosed into a single-agenda state
which aims to cut India down to size, finds inself in the middle of
the action. The author's own conclusions, arrived at in two hundred
and fifty tightly-argued pages, are rather more nuanced, and his key
analytical tool is the concept of the Islamic ummah as developed by a
group of influential fundamentalist thinkers.

At the risk of oversimplification, the contents of the book may be
grouped into the following themes, which are not mutually exclusive:
(i) historical analysis; (ii) current irritants; (iii) 9/11 and its
aftermath; (iv) the technology of 'jihad'; (v) the role of Pakistan;
(vi) prognosis. I shall conclude by making a few remarks about the
last; for the rest, there is no substitute for reading the book.
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As a retired Foreign Service Officer who keeps up with Pakistan and its neighborhood, I consider this book essential reading. Drawing on his many years of observing and writing about Pakistan and his intimate knowledge of Great Britain and the U.S., Mr. Husain provides the history and the explanations of attitudes on each side of the divide that are essential to a real understanding of the problems.
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