Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East by Bernard Lewis

By Bernard Lewis

Bernard Lewis is famous around the world as one of many top gurus on Islam. Hailed as "the world's most excellent Islamic scholar" (Wall highway magazine ), as "a towering determine between specialists at the tradition and faith of the Muslim world" (Baltimore sunlight ), and as "the doyen of heart japanese studies" (New York instances ), Lewis is not anything lower than a countrywide treasure, a depended on voice that politicians, reporters, historians, and most of the people have all became to for perception into the center East.

Now, Lewis has introduced jointly writings on faith and govt within the center East, so varied than within the Western international. the gathering comprises formerly unpublished writings, English originals of articles released sooner than merely in international languages, and an creation to the publication by way of Lewis.

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At no point do the basic texts of Islam enjoin terrorism and murder. At no point do they even consider the random slaughter of uninvolved bystanders. Nevertheless, some Muslims are ready to approve, and a few of them to apply, the declaration’s extreme interpretation of their religion. Terrorism requires only a few. Obviously, the West must defend itself by whatever means will be effective. But in devising strategies to fight the terrorists, it would surely be useful to understand the forces that drive them.

In the nineteenth century, the Ottomans, followed by other Muslim states, adopted European-style uniforms for both officers and men, and European harness for their horses. Only the headgear remained un-Westernized, and for good reason. Traditionally, in the Middle East, headgear had served as a kind of emblem or sign by which men indicated their religious, ethnic, or even professional identity. They wore it as a badge throughout their lives, and it was carved in stone over their graves. The hat, with peak, visor, or brim, was seen as characteristic of the European and served to indicate him both in miniature painting and in popular shows.

They encountered a new wave of Muslim expansion, led this time not by Arabs but by Turks, who had already conquered the greater part of Greek Christian Anatolia, and who were soon to bring Turkish Islam into southeastern and—through the conquests of the Islamized, Turkicized Golden Horde—Eastern Europe. And this expansion in turn brought a further European response, in the rise of Muscovy and, centuries later, of the Christian peoples of the Balkans. The great European expansion from the end of the fifteenth century, at both the eastern and western extremities of Europe, was in origin a continuation of this process of European selfliberation.

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