More on “The Islamist”

Two reviews of this book have cropped up this week: there is a “very sympathetic”: one from John Gray in the _Literary Review._ I think his conclusion is absolutely the right one — that the term for this stuff ought to be “Islamo-Leninism”, rather than the term preferred by the warhards. One paragraph is worth quoting most of:

bq. Particularly among the new army of evangelical atheists, there will be those who see his story as another proof of the evils of faith schools and of religion in general. Yet Husain did not finally sever his links with Islamism by becoming a militant atheist and converting to an Enlightenment faith in humanity – as secular fundamentalists urge. He did so by rediscovering what he describes as ‘classical, traditional Islam’, which includes Sufi mysticism. At the same time as he rejected the pathological hostility of Islamists to the West he returned to a tradition that had not been deformed by Western political religion. Islamism is a real threat to peace and freedom in Britain just as it is in Muslim countries. But it is such a threat in virtue of what it has in common with creeds such as Leninism, from which it largely derives. Aside from all its social and geopolitical causes Islamism is at bottom an expression of the pathology of faith, and it will not be cured by another dose of the secular ideology it so faithfully mirrors.

There is also an extremely snarky one by Zia Sardar in one of the _Independents._ I think that calling someone a neocon, as he does, merely because they advocate integration, casts doubt on his good faith.

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