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Journey into Islam

The Crisis of Globalization

Akbar Ahmed

Publication Year: 2007

Globalization, the war on terror, and Islamic fundamentalism —followed closely by a rise in Islamophobia —have escalated tensions between Western nations and the Muslim world. Yet internationally renowned Islamic scholar Akbar Ahmed believes that through dialogue and understanding, these cultures can coexist peacefully and respectfully. That hope and belief result in an extraordinary journey. To learn what Muslims think and how they really view America, Ahmed traveled to the three major regions of the Muslim world the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia. Journey into Islam: The Crisis of Globalization is the riveting story of his search for common ground. His absorbing narrative and personal photos bring the reader on a tour of Islam and its peoples. Ahmed sought to understand the experiences and perceptions of ordinary Muslims. Visiting mosques, madrassahs, and universities, he met with people ranging from Pakastan President Pervez Musharraf to prime ministers, princes, sheikhs, professors, and students. He observed, listened, and asked them questions. For example, who inspires them? What are they reading? How do the Internet and international media impact their lives? How do they view America, the West, and changes in society? Ahmed's anthropological expedition enjoyed extensive access to women and youths, revealing unique information on large yet often misunderstood populations. Lamentably, he found high levels of anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism and a widespread perception that Islam is under attack from the West. But he also brought back reason for hope. He returned from his groundbreaking travels both impressed with the concerned, kind nature of the individuals he encountered and invigorated with the vitality and passion they displayed. Journey into Islam makes a powerful plea for forming friendships across religion, race, and tradition to create lasting peace between Islam and the West.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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Copyright Information

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii-x

This book is the product of a journey to the Muslim world with a team of assistants dedicated to unraveling the complexities of Islam. Keenly aware of the need to see into Muslim societies, I initiated a project that...

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One. An Anthropological Excursion into the Muslim World

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pp. 1-48

“The actions of Osama bin Laden, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Taliban, even if they kill women and children, are perfectly justified in Islam.” These chilling...

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Two. The Struggle within Islam

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pp. 49-82

August 29, 1659, was a hot and humid day in Delhi, the capital of the mighty Mughal Empire. Large throngs lined the main streets to catch a glimpse of their...

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Three. Tribes, Women, and Honor in the Age of Globalization

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pp. 83-126

After my long journey across the Atlantic en route to Doha, I boarded the connecting British Airways flight in London along with a planeload of other...

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Four. Who Is Defining Islam after 9/11 and Why?

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pp. 127-192

Within days of returning from Bali in mid-April 2006, after a long, disorienting flight across the Pacific and the United States to Washington, D.C., I was on the road...

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Five. The Clash of Civilizations?

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pp. 193-244

“The Muslim situation is so desperate. I would gladly give my life for their cause.” These were the chilling words of my dinner companion on a balmy spring...

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Six. Lifting the Veil

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pp. 245-268

Who cannot marvel at the capacity of the human spirit to expand and change? When I first met Aijaz, he seemed fully set in his opinions, one whose world...

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Epilogue: The Hope of the World

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pp. 269-273

As seems fitting, our journey to the Muslim world ends at the National Cathedral in Washington,D.C., the city where it began. One of Washington’s most...

Appendix: Analysis of the Questionnaires

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pp. 275-285


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pp. 287-301


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pp. 303-323

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780815701330
E-ISBN-10: 0815701330

Page Count: 323
Illustrations: 1 color illus, 2 b& w photos
Publication Year: 2007