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Irshad ManjiTo his credit, Kelsay refuses to whitewash the role of religion in fostering the violence he discusses…Yet his analysis also respects the nuances of Shariah reasoning. Kelsay appreciates Islamic history and delves into detail…about how theologians, jurists and dissidents decided what constitutes a just war. Like their Christian counterparts, Muslims have asked and asked again: When may battle be waged? Can noncombatants ever be targets? How much force is proportional? Does negotiation take precedence over a quick and easy victory? Kelsay could have brought these questions to life had he given us something—anything—about the personalities of the questioners and not merely the process they followed. Stick with him, though. By forensically dissecting the development of Shariah reasoning he illuminates the situation we now face, in which classical Islamic scholars are trumped by bloodthirsty bandits who pose as thinkers.
—The New York Times