Author(s): David Selbourne
In this comprehensive study of the Islamic revival from 1947 to the present, historian David Selbourne traces in detail the complex causes motivating the rise of Muslim fundamentalism in many countries and the West's largely uncomprehending response to it. He frankly describes the hostilities, cruelties, and errors of judgment on both sides. Writing neither from the "left" nor from the "right," Selbourne pieces together up-to-date information from more numerous sources than in any other work on the subject. He highlights the grotesque role that some sections of the Western media have played and seeks to do justice to the Islamist cause, demonstrating how many of the real issues of the Islamic revival have been evaded. Selbourne argues that whether the "reawakening" of the Islamic and Arab worlds has taken the political form of Arab nationalism, as under the leadership of Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser in the 1950s, or the economic form of the OPEC oil embargo in 1973 and 1974, or the religious form of the Iranian revolution of 1989 and the present al-Qaeda suicide squads, in all its guises it is motivated by a sense of entitlement in Muslims to determine their own destiny free of Western subordination. Selbourne concludes with a warning against the illusions of the West about its superiority and ability to contain a force that is confident of its own moral superiority and certain of its ultimate triumph. Addressed both to general readers and to policy makers, academics, and journalists, The Losing Battle with Islam will stand for some time as one of the most impartial and authoritative accounts of a half century of Western conflict with Islam.