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The Two Faces of Islam: Saudi Fundamentalism and Its Role in Terrorism Paperback – September 9, 2003
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“A major and welcome contribution on a topic that will only become more relevant. It is must reading for anybody who wants to know what exactly we are facing in the war on terror.” —National Review
“A powerful indictment of Saudi-Wahhabi duplicity. . . . A valuable study of a religious culture that could well end up in open conflict with the West (if it’s not already).” —The Washington Post
“The urgency for Americans is to place the news in context, and toward that end there is no better guide than Stephen Schwartz. . . . No writer has done more to expose Wahhabism than Mr. Schwartz has.” —Dallas Morning News
From the Inside Flap
Schwartz reveals the hypocrisy of the Saudi regime, whose moderate facade conceals state-sponsored repression and terrorism. He also raises troubling questions about Wahhabi infiltration of America's Islamic community and about U.S. oil companies sanitizing Saudi Arabia's image for the West. This sharp analysis and eye-opening expose illuminates the background to the September 11th terrorist attacks and offers new approaches for U.S. policy toward its closest ally in the Middle East.
Top Customer Reviews
Schwartz doesn't paint a rosy picture of what Islam has become in many quarters, but he puts a lot of things into understandable context. Someone in another review wrote that Schwartz doesn't ever site the Qu'ran...
Obviously, they didn't read the book. Schwartz quotes the Qu'ran no less than six times by the end of Chapter One.
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No. It's not an emotionless, totally objective work. Yes. It is partly a history book and partly an explanation of the "sociology of Islam".
Order it if you want to broaden your horizons on the subject. If you want more reasons to hate or dismiss Islam, find another, because Schwartz' book does such a good job all you'll do is get upset.
How about Saudi Arabia, which has been an American ally?
This book describes Wahhabi extremism and gives a useful history of Saudi relations with the West.
The most interesting portion of the book is the chapter titled "Religious Colonialism," which describes what Schwartz describes as the Wahhabi conquest of American Islam. The author states that American Muslims are a rather diverse community. However, Wahhabis and Wahhabi money have taken over the leadership of many Muslim organizations. These include the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), the American Muslim Council (AMC), the American Muslim Alliance (AMA), and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Wahhabi money also supports some Hamas operational groups such as the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF).
In addition, the Wahhabis have successfully lobbied to get non-Muslims to see them as the premier representatives of American Muslims. Schwartz notes a letter from a number of Christian organizations, including representatives of the United Church of Christ, the National Council of the Churches of Christ, the Presbyterian Church, the National Council of Catholic Bishops and a leading body of the Methodist Church. That letter protested alleged unfair media scrutiny of AMC activites and referred to AMC in its first line as "the premier, mainstream Muslim group in Washington.Read more ›
That being said, his book is an excellent and detailed portrayal of the rise of the Sa'ud dynasty and its partner, the Wahhabi sect of Islam, which I would describe as a Bedouinized, harsh and austere view of religion. I dislike the terms radical and fundamentalist because they suggest a return to the roots or foundational principles of a movement. Judging rom Schwartz's account of the life and character of Muhammed, there is very little of his basic principles in Wahhabism, which is militant and domineering, practicing a kind of religious colonialism toward all other branches of Islam using oil wealth to export its philosophy through building mosques, complete with Wahhabist imams and schools of indoctrination nearly everywhere. These are the source of mujahadin, who are not the philosopher warriors of the past but brainwashed juveniles who have been turned into suicide bombers in madrassas. They have had their view of life, the normal hope and ambition of young people, stripped away and a vision of martyrdom, resting in the Garden of Allah with 72 dark-eyed virgins, inculcated in its place.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I felt it generalized too much and characterized the differences in terms that were too stark. Religions are often used in service of cultural and political values--they do not... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Joy W.
This book explains how the Wahhabi shcool of thought in Islam rose into existence and into power in Saudi Arabia. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Hunyadi
Such a misunderstood subject. Stephen Schwartz writes with clarity, substance, and passion explaining the struggle within Islam against the Wahhabis and the Muslim Brotherhood... Read morePublished on November 21, 2013 by chris gaubatz
The author is strident in his dislike for the more extreme face of Islam, but presents a thoughtful history of the movement and an insightful analysis of those groups in America... Read morePublished on October 22, 2013 by Nancy M. Tischler
This book neither extolls the virtues of Islam as the "religion of peace", nor does it reduce it to its most violent, intolerant forms. Read morePublished on February 28, 2012 by Mary Esterhammer-Fic
The first half of the book is basically the history of Islam beginning with the birth of Mohammad. It will help all non Muslims understand more of what the Western World is... Read morePublished on June 27, 2011 by Duke
This book was a total disappointment. I was hoping to learn about the history of Islam and origins of the violence from some of the modern-day Muslims. Read morePublished on March 20, 2011 by Angela