The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity

The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity

by Tariq Ali


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781859844571
Publisher: Verso Books
Publication date: 04/17/2003
Edition description: PBK
Pages: 342
Sales rank: 887,312
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Tariq Ali is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than a dozen books on world history and politics—including Pirates of the Caribbean, Bush in Babylon, The Clash of Fundamentalisms and The Obama Syndrome—as well as five novels in his Islam Quintet series and scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of the New Left Review and lives in London.

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The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had a very good time reading this book.Even though I thought that it was going to be a little bit partial to the Muslim community,I was surprised to see how balanced and objective he could remain. Using this technique,he was much more persuasive in his criticism of the West as well,since nobody could say that he was favoring his own particular group. I would strongly recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One can't tell a book from it's cover, but in this case, at least one can get an idea that the author has a sense of humor! Perhaps it may be well that such a serious topic as terrorism and religious fundamentalism be approached with a some humor. At the same time, it is a serious book, one of the few books on terrorism that actually delve into the roots of it all to discern a solution. The book is quite voluminous, nearly 330 pages, packed with information and deep analysis, with many notes. The author's brilliant writing style makes it an incredibly difficult book to put down. I ended up finishing the whole book over the Christmas / New Year holiday, with many sleepless nights, that is. The book is divided into 4 major parts: one on the early history of Islam; one on the last 100 years of relations with the West, marked by colonialism and upheavals; a special part focusing on South Asia (India and Pakistan) the region about which the author is most familiar; and the last part on the United States and it's relations with the Islamic world. The book is fascinating not only because it draws upon the author's deep knowledge of the history of Islam, but also because he punctuates it with poetry and quotations from diverse literary works over the ages. The book exhibits a deep understanding of the subject, and posits a thesis directly confronting the much-touted 'clash of civilizations' model. A major strength of this book, however, is that the author is daring enough not to stand with the crowd. While many intellectuals from the Muslim world do little to explain current events beyond laying the blame on the West, Tariq Ali is not afraid to look squarely at his own culture with the same critical eye he uses to examine Western imperialism. In this day and age, I would say this is a must-read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tariq Ali was never known for `political correctness¿. Clash of Fundamentalisms, if anything, lives up to that rebellious image. In a broad sweep across time and space, his restless mind and prickly pen have not spared anyone. It is a disturbingly provocative read for diehard followers of any creed. The bearded caricature of President Bush not only adorns the title, but is also central to Ali¿s analysis. He aims to rip apart the mask of secularism from the seductive facade of American establishment and like Oscar Wilde¿s, Picture of the Dorian Gray, he brings out the real face of the American establishment. As he deconstructs the mantras of Washington and its neo-liberal apologists a reader, begins to see the current world situation as a battle between Christian, Jewish and Muslim fundamentalists, a struggle in which each side confidently claims God's support. He argues, ¿ what we experience today is the return of History in a horrific form¿, with religious symbols playing a part on both sides: ¿'Allah's revenge,' 'God is on Our Side' and 'God Bless America.' ¿ And lest we forget the biblical claims to the ancient lands? Ali minces no words in asserting that the visible violence of September 11 was the response and a natural corollary of the invisible but systematic violence to which the world has been subjected first by Britain and then by postmodern empire of United States. Tracing the chronology of contradictions, he remembers, Winston Churchill in 1937 in front of Peel Commission: ¿I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, has come in and taken their place¿. Ironically Churchill was referring to Palestinians under British protectorate as `these people¿ and Jews as `a higher grade race¿ at a time when a similar sentiment was being echoed in Nazi Germany, though from the opposite perspective. And he remembers Lesley Stahl of CBS reminding, Madeleine Albright-former secretary of state that more children have died in Iraq than Hiroshima and Ms Albright arguing: ¿ I think this is a very hard choice, but the price? We think the price is worth it¿ And he pokes the conscience of his readers by remembering master conspirators: Balfour and Philby-architects of a settler state and tribal kleptocracy in Arabian Peninsula. ¿After the Second world war the United States backed the most reactionary elements as a bulwark against communism or progressive/secular nationalism in every part of the Islamic world.¿ ¿Often these were the hard line religious fundamentalists: the Muslim Brotherhood against Nasser in Egypt; Serakat-e- Islam against Suakarno in Indonesia, the Jamat-e- Islami against Bhutto in Pakistan¿ Ali piles a layer of facts to argue that from the fascist Hasan al Bana in Egypt-who stayed in regular touch with Brigadier Calyton of British Military Intelligence- to the mastermind of international terrorism Osama bin Laden every rogue, to begin with, was a creation of the western intelligence agencies. But despite the broad sweep of his book, a reader ends up with the feeling that Ali¿s ultimate subject is the intellectual stagnation in Islamic world. However unfortunately, throughout the book, as if suffering from a Marxist hangover, he has devoted more time in proving the initial ties between Islamic fundamentalists and western imperialism than to address the roots of contemporary Muslim inertia. Though his initial chapters are extremely critical of the Islamic teachings, he nevertheless extols the glory of early Islamic civilization and points out the existence of a thriving and rigorous intellectual tradition. One wonders, if the formula itself was so puny then how come the initial product so glorious? But lets forget it, it is a difficult question anyway. What happened then? What caused the downfall? He has no clear answer. We may excuse him, for his obsession was to explain that fundamentalism- as witnessed today- was never a part of the Islamic h
Guest More than 1 year ago
For the purpose of this review I would like to divide this book into three major parts. A very small first part gives a brief but honest background of the author, he does not appear to be ashamed of telling about his ancestors, who are regarded in his birthplace as traitors for supporting the British Raj. He describes his upbringing in an atheist envoirnment, which may be the main reason for his beliefs. Second and the largest part is spread over three parts of the book and gives a brief account of the history of Muslims. In describing the early part of the Muslim history he appears to express his opinions instead of a discussion leading to conclusions. Then, he very nicely describes the recent history of Muslims. Though at some points he appears to present a communist's point of view, but generally gives a very balanced account. He gives extensive coverage to Pakistan and India and describes in detail the issue of Kashmir. He goes on to describe the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism and the role of West especially United States in its very birth. The third part is a very nice analysis of the Empire, its fundamentalism, and how it is not ready to even consider a possiblity of a 'blowback'. One chapter, 'Letter to a young Muslim' is a food for thought for all the young Muslims. A historical interview of Isaac Deutscher appears as Appendix. Overall, it is a wonderful book on the political history of the world.