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The Malady of Islamby Abdelwahab Meddeb
Synopses & Reviews
In this impassioned, erudite, and deeply moving book, Abdelwahab Meddeb, born and raised in Tunis and now living in Paris, details the breadth and scope of the Arab intellectual tradition and dismantles common preconceptions held by the Islamic and Western worlds. He describes the growing resentment between the West and the Islamic world as being due, in large part, to Islam's drift away from its own pluralist tradition. Tracing the history of the "conquering" of the Arab world by the West, he provides a detailed history of the ways in which Islamic fundamentalism has come to compensate for Western dominance. Directly addressing the terrorist attacks of September 11, he challenges us to reconsider the presumption that the gulf between the Islamic world and the West is too wide to breach.The "malady" of Islam lies in its alienation from the West and the corrosive influence that fundamentalism has wrought. This book is a correction of the historical record, a passionate description of the best of Islamic thought and culture, and an absolutely necessary read for those seeking a better understanding not only of Islam but also ourselves.
Book News Annotation:
Meddeb (comparative literature, University of Paris X-Nanterre) approaches contemporary Islamic fundamentalism as a sickness that cuts off Islam from the richness of its own history. Written in response to the September 11th terrorist attack and with an afterword addressing the war in Iraq, the book traces the origins of Islamic fundamentalism and looks at the West's role in exacerbating it. Meddeb urges the West to engage with Islam as a part of the Western tradition, and implores Islam to look back to ideas that nourished the golden age of Islamic civilization. The book was originally published in French as in 2002 by Editions de Seuil. There is no index.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A defense of Islam, and an indictment of religious fundamentalism, addressed to Islamic and Western readers.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 223-241).
About the Author
Abdelwahab Meddeb is a prolific novelist, poet, translator, and essayist and the editor of the journal Dédale. The author of ten books, he is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Paris X--Nanterre. He lives in Paris, France.
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