Skip to comments.Bernard Lewis Asks 'What Went Wrong?' Between Islam and the West
Posted on 02/07/2002 5:00:13 AM PST by billorites
In early 1979 the authoritarian and much-disliked regime of the Shah of Iran collapsed, to the rejoicing of left-wing groups everywhere in the West. Quite by chance, I was to dine in those same days in Princeton with the renowned historians Fritz Stern and John Elliott, plus one other scholar. The fourth dining partner arrived late, apologetic and a little rueful. He had given a radio interview earlier in the day, warning that the shah's overthrow by Muslim clerics would lead not to social improvement and democracy but to theocracy, intolerance and clerically controlled mayhem.
This was not a popular opinion. A fellow professor, distinguished in the field of international law but knowing little of Iran, deplored such conservatism and pessimism. And many Princeton students were outraged, since they were sure that the Iranian people, freed from the shah's yoke, would join the modern, anticapitalist, freethinking world. The gloomy, skeptical scholar was surely mistaken, and should feel ashamed of himself. No wonder he was a little rueful.
The fourth dining partner that evening was the distinguished historian of the Islamic, Arabic and Middle Eastern worlds Bernard Lewis, for many years the Cleveland E. Dodge professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton. As it happened, the radical, protesting students were quite wrong, and the individual and maligned scholar was completely right. He actually knew what he was talking about, because he had been studying the Muslim world -- its history, literature, culture -- for over 30 years. He had some claim to offer an opinion that deserved respect. There is a lesson here.
The same authority is still going strong. A couple of years ago he published a wonderful collection of occasional pieces, named (appropriately enough) ''A Middle East Mosaic,'' which offered numerous vignettes of a region both fascinating and disturbing. Now he has produced what may be his most significant work for a contemporary audience. ''What Went Wrong?'' is a concise study of the Muslim world's responses to the West and of its own long, sad decline.
It was completed, one must emphasize, some time before Sept. 11. Scholars of international and Middle Eastern affairs like Lewis did not need Osama bin Laden's attacks, the subsequent war against the Taliban and revelations of our shaky, ambivalent friendships with Pakistan or Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to recognize that things were out of joint between the West and much of the Muslim world. What the events of the past few months did was to call this enormous problem to the attention of a far wider audience.
On the whole, the varied societies of our planet are marching, however briskly or reluctantly, in lock step with an America of laissez-faire economics, cultural pluralism and political democracy. This was and is a heady stew, and one that took Western Europe and North America four or five generations to absorb. To expect Argentina or Indonesia or China or Ukraine to swallow such changes in a far shorter time is probably asking too much. No wonder we hear the creakings and crashings of the structures of the post-1945 world order all around us.
But in the Middle East the difficulties present not just another case of traditional societies having to come to terms with the forces of modernization. The unvarnished truth is that the tensions there are of a different order of magnitude. The region extends over a vast, sprawling area, where a badly damaged though powerful and religiously driven order is locked in confrontation with global trends more penetrating and unsettling than could ever have been imagined when Muslim self-confidence was at its peak some centuries ago. What Lewis is writing about in ''What Went Wrong?'' concerns one of the greatest cultural and political divides in modern history.
Sometime around 1760, Britain, then France and America took off to another world, one that was increasingly secular, democratic, industrial and tolerant in ways that left many of the other regions gasping at the combined implications of such changes. Certain societies in parts of Latin America or India or Russia felt they had little choice but to follow suit, although hoping to brake the impacts of Western man. The Middle East, powerful a half-millennium earlier, when Europe was a bundle of inchoate, backward states and unworthy of attention, did not. Yet Europe rose while the Muslim world rested on its laurels -- until it was besieged by Western ships, armaments, iron goods and cheap textiles, to all of which it became harder and harder to respond.
The West's cultural messages, especially about democracy, made things even more difficult. Those with power in Muslim societies found it impossible to contemplate the separation of religion and state, or admit to a changed place in society for women or permit the free exchange of ideas, particularly unpleasant ideas, on the lines argued by John Stuart Mill and others. But there is even more to it than that. As Lewis shrewdly points out, the works of Mozart and Shakespeare and Voltaire have traveled around the globe, as for that matter have Stravinsky, jazz and George Orwell. But they all pretty much stop at the frontiers of the Arab world, which has shown little interest in how others think, write, compose; there are few translations of these writers and few performances of these musicians, nor are there great libraries and museums of Western art to match the impressive collections of Muslim culture in the West. (There is no presumption by Lewis here that Western or Slavic or Japanese culture is inherently superior, only that it is disturbing that this troubled part of our planet has never really cared.)
It is not that the Muslim world was totally without attempts at reform and renewal in the face of global trends, or that there was no appreciation that its own earlier superiority had vanished. In fact, Lewis is extremely good in detailing Ottoman and Arab and Iranian scholars who, from the 18th century onward, called with growing alarm for change. The sad fact is that for the most part their calls went unheeded.
Among the many reasons for such a failure discussed in this remarkably succinct account, one especially stands out. It is that the reformers split into two diametrically opposed camps: the Western-oriented movements, which sought adaptation, imitation and accommodation with modernity, though within a moderately Muslim order of things; and the conservatives, who angrily claimed that the reason for the decline was traitorous forces within their own societies, those who had strayed from the true path of the prophet. These forces, the conservatives argued, were even more sinful and deserved more punishment than the infidels themselves. It is not difficult, in reading these earlier denunciations of Arab liberals, to recall bin Laden's recent ferocious speeches against the Saudi leadership and others in the Middle East for defiling the true faith.
And yet, because ''What Went Wrong?'' was written before the Sept. 11 attacks, it has no reference to the immediate crisis, nor has it therefore any prescriptions for the United States, or the West in general. This is not a text that will directly help Donald H. Rumsfeld as he waits for his morning briefings. In a way, however, this is the book's great strength, and its claim upon our attention: for it offers a long view in the midst of so much short-term and confusing punditry on television, in the op-ed pages, on campuses and in strategic studies think tanks. My guess is that Lewis feels that should bin Laden be killed, his Qaeda network destroyed and a reasonable truce prevail in Afghanistan, the problem he describes will not have gone away, because it is a far deeper and bigger question for world society than even the awful terrorist attacks on the United States late last summer.
What, then, is to be done? At the end of the day, Lewis argues, the answer lies within the Muslim world itself. Either its societies, especially those in the Middle East, will continue in ''a downward spiral of hate and spite, rage and self-pity, poverty and oppression,'' with all that implies for a horrible and troubled future; or ''they can abandon grievance and victimhood, settle their differences and join their talents, energies and resources in a common creative endeavor'' to the benefit of themselves and the rest of our planet. Perhaps the outside world can help a bit, though probably not much. ''For the time being, the choice is their own.'' With this final sentence, and all that precedes it, Lewis has done us all -- Muslim and non-Muslim alike -- a remarkable service.
Paul Kennedy is a professor of history at Yale University and the author or editor of 15 books, including ''The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.''
Man, what an oxymoron!
GREAT article, BTW. When folks post stuff like this it reminds me what I joined FR for in the first place.
unfortunately, they make the choice to interfere with the lives of the "infidels" and they will pay the price. Nice article, thanks for posting it.
What was interesting was that he didn't seem to feel this was a bad thing, whereas his book "Rise and Fall of Great Powers" took the US to task for trying to maintain a preponderance of military force in the world, and suggested it would lead to our downfall.
Yet more proof that the liberal mind has no regard for logic. Nowhere has a country ruled by fanatical muslim clerics produced a modern, much less, freethinking nation. Insanity is sometimes defined as expecting a different result to occur when an identical situation repeats itself.
It must be kind of sad to be inflicted with this obvious mental disorder where nothing is predictable, or understandable, and therefore explained by mystical charges of bias, discrimination, and racism.
Nothing went wrong between the West and islam, just a very predictable development.
BTW- agree with Illbay, great article, thanks much!
Guns Before Butter.
I second the post that said this is the kind of article which inspired me to join FreeRepublic in the first place.
BTW, the comment:
''they can abandon grievance and victimhood, settle their differences and join their talents, energies and resources in a common creative endeavor'' to the benefit of themselves and the rest of our planet. Perhaps the outside world can help a bit, though probably not much. ''For the time being, the choice is their own.''
could easily be applied to the minorities in America who preach a culture of victimhood and perpetual grievance against America.
Actually both sides were right: (1)Iranian people joined modern anti-capitalist world, (2) and this world is a very gloomy place indeed.
"Sometime around 1760, Britain, then France and America took off to another world, one that was increasingly secular, democratic, industrial and tolerant in ways that left many of the other regions gasping at the combined implications of such changes."
Do not get me wrong these achievements are great on its own merit, however, there is an established custom to wildly exaggerate them: yes there is a tradition of tolerating minorities (first religious, then ethnic and after that racial), however, countries composed from several large religious/ethnic/racial groups are invariantly split (or are in the process of splitting) along the group borders with only few exclusions (US, Belgium, Switzerland).
So, when we are trying to analyze the real situation in the Muslim world it makes sense first to look at our own society without rose glasses. And surprise, surprise the solution would not be far away. First, we have to concede that we are not ready to lead active transformation of Muslim society, because we do not understand our own well enough. Second, we have to look at the positive examples of societal transformation achieved in the past:
1. Reagan policies toward FSU. Everybody knows about his tough stand against soviet expansion, however, practically nobody is paying any attention to the fact that in all cases he was very accurate of not starting any offence on its own - only counter offences. So, this way US forced FSU's public interest to be switched into its internal problems, forced to boil in its own kettle and result is very well known.
2. Transformation of MA politics - MA is a single party state and dems are left to themselves and I do not see many politicians here talking traditional liberal nonsense about clean elections, raising taxes, banning private business, closing churches etc etc.
3.Australia: society of criminals left alone and forced to solve its own internal problems transformed itself beautifully.
I suppose the same approach should be taken to Muslim world: let us leave them alone, let us stop buying oil from them, let us allow them to boil in their own kettle, solving their own problems. The policy should be somewhat reminiscent of Reagan policy toward FSU: severely restrict any attempt of expansion beyond their own universe, prod satellite states to fall off, advertise our values: music, movies, jeans and coca-cola.
Human nature is human nature, so the thing which worked wonders in such diverse places like FSU, MA and Australia, may solve these problems in practically no time.
|The Atlantic Monthly | January 2002
The Hard Questions
What Went Wrong?
By all standards of the modern worldeconomic development, literacy, scientific achievementMuslim civilization, once a mighty enterprise, has fallen low. Many in the Middle East blame a variety of outside forces. But underlying much of the Muslim world's travail may be a simple lack of freedom
n the course of the twentieth century it became abundantly clear that things had gone badly wrong in the Middle Eastand, indeed, in all the lands of Islam. Compared with Christendom, its rival for more than a millennium, the world of Islam had become poor, weak, and ignorant. The primacy and therefore the dominance of the West was clear for all to see, invading every aspect of the Muslim's public and evenmore painfullyhis private life.
Muslim modernizersby reform or revolutionconcentrated their efforts in three main areas: military, economic, and political. The results achieved were, to say the least, disappointing. The quest for victory by updated armies brought a series of humiliating defeats. The quest for prosperity through development brought in some countries impoverished and corrupt economies in recurring need of external aid, in others an unhealthy dependence on a single resourceoil. And even this was discovered, extracted, and put to use by Western ingenuity and industry, and is doomed, sooner or later, to be exhausted, or, more probably, superseded, as the international community grows weary of a fuel that pollutes the land, the sea, and the air wherever it is used or transported, and that puts the world economy at the mercy of a clique of capricious autocrats. Worst of all are the political results: the long quest for freedom has left a string of shabby tyrannies, ranging from traditional autocracies to dictatorships that are modern only in their apparatus of repression and indoctrination.
Many remedies were triedweapons and factories, schools and parliamentsbut none achieved the desired result. Here and there they brought some alleviation and, to limited elements of the population, some benefit. But they failed to remedy or even to halt the increasing imbalance between Islam and the Western world.
There was worse to come. It was bad enough for Muslims to feel poor and weak after centuries of being rich and strong, to lose the position of leadership that they had come to regard as their right, and to be reduced to the role of followers of the West. But the twentieth century, particularly the second half, brought further humiliationthe awareness that they were no longer even the first among followers but were falling back in a lengthening line of eager and more successful Westernizers, notably in East Asia. The rise of Japan had been an encouragement but also a reproach. The later rise of other Asian economic powers brought only reproach. The proud heirs of ancient civilizations had gotten used to hiring Western firms to carry out tasks of which their own contractors and technicians were apparently incapable. Now Middle Eastern rulers and businessmen found themselves inviting contractors and technicians from Koreaonly recently emerged from Japanese colonial ruleto perform these tasks. Following is bad enough; limping in the rear is far worse. By all the standards that matter in the modern worldeconomic development and job creation, literacy, educational and scientific achievement, political freedom and respect for human rightswhat was once a mighty civilization has indeed fallen low.
"Who did this to us?" is of course a common human response when things are going badly, and many in the Middle East, past and present, have asked this question. They have found several different answers. It is usually easier and always more satisfying to blame others for one's misfortunes. For a long time the Mongols were the favorite villains. The Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century were blamed for the destruction of both Muslim power and Islamic civilization, and for what was seen as the ensuing weakness and stagnation. But after a while historians, Muslims and others, pointed to two flaws in this argument. The first was that some of the greatest cultural achievements of Islam, notably in Iran, came after, not before, the Mongol invasions. The second, more difficult to accept but nevertheless undeniable, was that the Mongols overthrew an empire that was already fatally weakened; indeed, it is hard to see how the once mighty empire of the caliphs would otherwise have succumbed to a horde of nomadic horsemen riding across the steppes from East Asia.
The rise of nationalismitself an import from Europeproduced new perceptions. Arabs could lay the blame for their troubles on the Turks, who had ruled them for many centuries. Turks could lay the blame for the stagnation of their civilization on the dead weight of the Arab past, in which the creative energies of the Turkish people were caught and immobilized. Persians could lay the blame for the loss of their ancient glories on Arabs, Turks, and Mongols impartially.
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries British and French paramountcy in much of the Arab world produced a new and more plausible scapegoatWestern imperialism. In the Middle East there have been good reasons for such blame. Western political domination, economic penetration, andlongest, deepest, and most insidious of allcultural influence changed the face of the region and transformed the lives of its people, turning them in new directions, arousing new hopes and fears, creating new dangers and new expectations without precedent in their cultural past.
But the Anglo-French interlude was comparatively brief, and ended half a century ago; Islam's change for the worse began long before and continued unabated afterward. Inevitably, the role of the British and the French as villains was taken over by the United States, along with other aspects of Western leadership. The attempt to transfer the guilt to America has won considerable support but, for similar reasons, remains unconvincing. Anglo-French rule and American influence, like the Mongol invasions, were a consequence, not a cause, of the inner weakness of Middle Eastern states and societies. Some observers, both inside and outside the region, have pointed to differences in the post-colonial development of former British possessionsfor example, between Aden, in the Middle East, and Singapore or Hong Kong; or between the various lands that once made up the British Empire in India.
Another European contribution to this debate is anti-Semitism, and blaming "the Jews" for all that goes wrong. Jews in traditional Islamic societies experienced the normal constraints and occasional hazards of minority status. Until the rise and spread of Western tolerance in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, they were better off under Muslim than under Christian rule in most significant respects. With rare exceptions, where hostile stereotypes of the Jew existed in the Islamic tradition, Islamic societies tended to be contemptuous and dismissive rather than suspicious and obsessive. This made the events of 1948the failure to prevent the establishment of the state of Israelall the more of a shock. As some writers observed at the time, it was humiliating enough to be defeated by the great imperial powers of the West; to suffer the same fate at the hands of a contemptible gang of Jews was intolerable. Anti-Semitism and its image of the Jew as a scheming, evil monster provided a soothing antidote.
The earliest specifically anti-Semitic statements in the Middle East occurred among Christian minorities, and can usually be traced back to European originals. They had limited impact; during the Dreyfus trial in France, for example, when a Jewish officer was unjustly accused and condemned by a hostile court, Muslim comments usually favored the persecuted Jew against his Christian persecutors. But the poison continued to spread, and starting in 1933, Nazi Germany and its various agencies made a concerted and on the whole remarkably successful effort to promote European-style anti-Semitism in the Arab world. The struggle for Palestine greatly facilitated the acceptance of the anti-Semitic interpretation of history, and led some to attribute all evil in the Middle Eastand, indeed, in the worldto secret Jewish plots. This interpretation has pervaded much of the public discourse in the region, including that seen in education, the media, and even entertainment.
An argument sometimes adduced is that the cause of the changed relationship between East and West is not a Middle Eastern decline but a Western upsurgethe discoveries and the scientific, technological, industrial, and political revolutions that transformed the West and vastly increased its wealth and power. But this is merely to restate the question: Why did the discoverers of America sail from Spain rather than from a Muslim Atlantic port, out of which such voyages were indeed attempted in earlier times? Why did the great scientific breakthrough occur in Europe and not, as one might reasonably have expected, in the richer, more advanced, and in most respects more enlightened realm of Islam?
more sophisticated form of the blame game finds its targets inside, rather than outside, Islamic society. One such target is religionfor some, specifically Islam. But to blame Islam as such is usually hazardous and not often attempted. Nor is it very plausible. For most of the Middle Ages it was neither the older cultures of the Orient nor the newer cultures of the West that were the major centers of civilization and progress but the world of Islam. There old sciences were recovered and developed and new sciences were created; there new industries were born and manufactures and commerce were expanded to a level without precedent. There, too, governments and societies achieved a freedom of thought and expression that led persecuted Jews and even dissident Christians to flee Christendom for refuge in Islam. In comparison with modern ideals, and even with modern practice in the more advanced democracies, the medieval Islamic world offered only limited freedom, but that was vastly more than was offered by any of its predecessors, its contemporaries, or most of its successors.
The point has often been made: If Islam is an obstacle to freedom, to science, to economic development, how is it that Muslim society in the past was a pioneer in all threeand this when Muslims were much closer in time to the sources and inspiration of their faith than they are now? Some have posed the question in a different formnot "What has Islam done to the Muslims?" but "What have the Muslims done to Islam?"and have answered by laying the blame on specific teachers and doctrines and groups.
For those known nowadays as Islamists or fundamentalists, the failures and shortcomings of modern Islamic lands afflict those lands because they adopted alien notions and practices. They fell away from authentic Islam and thus lost their former greatness. Those known as modernists or reformers take the opposite view, seeing the cause of this loss not in the abandonment but in the retention of old ways, and especially in the inflexibility and ubiquity of the Islamic clergy, who, they say, are responsible for the persistence of beliefs and practices that might have been creative and progressive a thousand years ago but are neither today. The modernists' usual tactic is not to denounce religion as such, still less Islam in particular, but to level their criticism against fanaticism. It is to fanaticismand more particularly to fanatical religious authoritiesthat they attribute the stifling of the once great Islamic scientific movement and, more generally, of the freedom of thought and expression.
A more common approach to this theme has been to discuss a specific problem: the place of religion and of its professional exponents in the political order. In this view a principal cause of Western progress is the separation of Church and State and the creation of a civil society governed by secular laws. Another approach has been to view the main culprit as the relegation of women to an inferior position in Muslim society, which deprives the Islamic world of the talents and energies of half its people and entrusts the other half's crucial early years of upbringing to illiterate and downtrodden mothers. The products of such an education, it has been said, are likely to grow up either arrogant or submissive, and unfit for a free, open society. However one evaluates the views of secularists and feminists, their success or failure will be a major factor in shaping the Middle Eastern future.
Some solutions that once commanded passionate support have been discarded. The two dominant movements in the twentieth century were socialism and nationalism. Both have been discreditedthe first by its failure, the second by its success and consequent exposure as ineffective. Freedom, interpreted to mean national independence, was seen as the great talisman that would bring all other benefits. The overwhelming majority of Muslims now live in independent states, but this has brought no solutions to their problems. National socialism, the bastard offspring of both ideologies, persists in a few states that have preserved the Nazi-Fascist style of dictatorial government and indoctrination through a vast security apparatus and a single all-powerful party. These regimes have failed every test except survival, and have brought none of the promised benefits. If anything, their infrastructures are even more antiquated than those of other Muslim states, their armed forces designed primarily for terror and repression.
At present two answers to the question of what went wrong command widespread support in the Middle East, each with its own diagnosis and corresponding prescription. One attributes all evil to the abandonment of the divine heritage of Islam and advocates return to a real or imagined past. That is the way of the Iranian revolution and of the so-called fundamentalist movements and regimes in various Muslim countries. The other condemns the past and advocates secular democracy, best embodied in the Turkish Republic, proclaimed in 1923 by Kemal Atatürk.
For the oppressive but ineffectual governments that rule much of the Middle East, finding targets to blame serves a useful, indeed an essential, purposeto explain the poverty that they have failed to alleviate and to justify the tyranny that they have introduced. They seek to deflect the mounting anger of their unhappy subjects toward other, outside targets.
But growing numbers of Middle Easterners are adopting a more self-critical approach. The question "Who did this to us?" has led only to neurotic fantasies and conspiracy theories. And the question "What did we do wrong?" has led naturally to a second question: "How do we put it right?" In that question, and in the various answers that are being found, lie the best hopes for the future. [Where are these people, do they exist? Are they real or only Bernard Lewis' hope?]
During the past few weeks the worldwide exposure given to the views and actions of Osama bin Laden and his hosts the Taliban has provided a new and vivid insight into the eclipse of what was once the greatest, most advanced, and most open civilization in human history.
To a Western observer, schooled in the theory and practice of Western freedom, it is precisely the lack of freedomfreedom of the mind from constraint and indoctrination, to question and inquire and speak; freedom of the economy from corrupt and pervasive mismanagement; freedom of women from male oppression; freedom of citizens from tyrannythat underlies so many of the troubles of the Muslim world. But the road to democracy, as the Western experience amply demonstrates, is long and hard, full of pitfalls and obstacles.
If the peoples of the Middle East continue on their present path, the suicide bomber may become a metaphor for the whole region, and there will be no escape from a downward spiral of hate and spite, rage and self-pity, poverty and oppression, culminating sooner or later in yet another alien dominationperhaps from a new Europe reverting to old ways, perhaps from a resurgent Russia, perhaps from some expanding superpower in the East. But if they can abandon grievance and victimhood, settle their differences, and join their talents, energies, and resources in a common creative endeavor, they can once again make the Middle East, in modern times as it was in antiquity and in the Middle Ages, a major center of civilization. For the time being, the choice is theirs.
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I was educated in the University of London, primarily but not entirely at the School of Oriental and African Studies, where I took both my B.A. (Honors in History) and my Ph.D. My B.A. degree was in History with special reference to the Near and Middle East; my Ph.D. in the History of Islam. I also studied Law, and went part of the way towards becoming a barrister, but decided that I didn't like it, and returned to study, and later teach, Middle Eastern History. It was a choice that I have never regretted. I also did part of my graduate work in the University of Paris, and spent some months touring the Middle East. I received my first teaching appointment in 1938, as an assistant lecturer (the lowest form of human life in British universities) in Islamic History at the School of Oriental and African Studies. With the exception of the years 1940 to 1945, when I was otherwise engaged, I remained a University teacher until my formal retirement in 1986, and, in a less formal sense, ever since. Until 1974, I taught at the University of London; since 1974 at Princeton.
Like most university teachers, I have had a somewhat narrow field in which I conducted my own research, a rather wider one in which I was willing to assist others undertake research, and a still wider one in which I was willing to risk undergraduate teaching. My earliest interest was in medieval Islamic History, especially that of religious movements such as the Ismailis and Assassins. The war years awakened and nourished an interest in the contemporary Middle East, which I have retained ever since. My major research interest for some time past has been the history of the Ottoman Empire. At the present time I am trying to combine all three by studying the history of the relations between Europe and Islam from early through Ottoman to modern times.
As an emeritus professor I teach no courses -- that is, not at Princeton, though an occasional invitation gives me the opportunity to ply my trade elsewhere. At the moment of my retirement, seven students were preparing dissertations under my guidance. Six of them--Müge Göçek, Leslie Peirce, Amy Singer, Shaun Marmon, Corinne Blake and Dina Le Gall--have obtained their doctorates. Of these Müge Göçek is teaching at Michigan, Leslie Peirce at Cornell, Amy Singer at the University of Tel-Aviv, Corinne Blake at Rowan College, Shaun Marmon in the Religions Department here and Dina Le Gall at Macalester College in Minnesota. Their dissertation topics were as follows: Muge Göcek - "Toward a Theory of Westernization and Social Change: Eighteenth & Nineteenth Century Ottoman Society" (1988); Leslie Peirce - "The Imperial Harem: Gender and Power in the Ottoman Empire 1520-1656" (1989); Amy Singer - "Ottoman Officials and Palestinian Peasants: Rural Administration in the Sancak of Jerusalem in the Mid-Sixteenth Century" (1989); Shaun Marmon - "The Eunuchs of the Prophet: Space, Time, and Gender in Islamic Society" (1990); Corinne Blake - "Training Arab-Ottoman Bureaucrats: Syrian Graduates of the Mulkiye Mektebi 1890-1920" (1990); Dina Le Gall - "The Ottoman Naqshbandiyya in the Pre-Mujaddidi Phase: A Study in Islamic Religious Culture and Its Transmission" (1991).
Some representative publications:
The Arabs in History, London 1950;
The Emergence of Modern Turkey, London and New York 1961
The Assassins, London 1967
The Muslim Discovery of Europe, New York 1982
The Political Language of Islam, Chicago 1988
Race and Slavery in the Middle East: an Historical Enquiry, New York 1990
Islam and the West, New York, 1993
Islam in History, 2nd edition, Chicago, 1993
The Shaping of the Modern Middle East, New York, 1994
Cultures in Conflict, New York, 1994
The Middle East: A Brief History of the Last 2,000 Years, New York, 1995
The Future of the Middle East, London, 1997
The Multiple Identities of the Middle East, London, 1998
A Middle East Mosaic: Fragments of life, letters and history, New York, 2000
the reformers split into two diametrically opposed camps: the Western-oriented movements, which sought adaptation, imitation and accommodation with modernity, though within a moderately Muslim order of things; and the conservatives, who angrily claimed that the reason for the decline was traitorous forces within their own societies, those who had strayed from the true path of the prophet. These forces, the conservatives argued, were even more sinful and deserved more punishment than the infidels themselves. It is not difficult, in reading these earlier denunciations of Arab liberals, to recall bin Laden's recent ferocious speeches against the Saudi leadership and others in the Middle East for defiling the true faith.
9-11 was an attack on the First Amendment.
911 asserts that an "accomodationist" Moslem (the good neighbor you might have) is worse than an infidel, and "infidel" just another word for "target."
America will somehow explain to the reactionary islamic that America, diverse as it is, is not only unwilling but unable to reject the First Amendment. And that, powerful as it is, America will make sure that it does not have to do what it is not only unwilling but unable to do.
He could just as well be talking about Al Sharpton, Jessie Jackson, Barbara Lee and the rest of the American Africans who hold their victimhood in high regard.
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