Synopses & Reviews
A decade after the 9/11 attacks, this groundbreaking book takes readers deep into rebellions against both autocrats and extremists that are redefining politics, culture, and security threats across the Islamic world. The awakening involves hundreds of millions of people. And the political transformations— and tectonic changes—are only beginning.
Robin Wright, an acclaimed foreign correspondent and television commentator, has covered the region for four decades. She witnessed the full cycle, from extremisms angry birth and globalization to the rise of new movements transforming the last bloc of countries to hold out against democracy. Now, in Rock the Casbah, she chronicles the new order being shaped by youthinspired revolts toppling leaders, clerics repudiating al Qaeda, playwrights and poets crafting messages of a counter-jihad, comedians ridiculing militancy, hip-hop rapping against guns and bombs, and women mobilizing for their own rights.
This new counter-jihad has many goals. For some, its about reforming the faith. For others, its about reforming political systems. For most, its about achieving basic rights. The common denominator is the rejection of venomous ideologies and suicide bombs, plane hijackings, hostage-takings, and mass violence to achieve those ends.
Wright captures a stunning moment in history, one of the regions four key junctures—along with Irans revolution, Israels creation, and the Ottoman Empires collapse—in a century. The notion of a clash of civilizations is increasingly being replaced by a commonality of civilizations in the twenty-first century. But she candidly details both the possibilities and pitfalls ahead. The new counter-jihad is imaginative and defiant, but Muslim societies are also politically inexperienced and economically challenged.
"To tell the story of the new world order forming in many Islamic nations, Wright begins in Tunisia, where the self-immolation of fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi inspired his angry fellow citizens to oust President Ben Ali in what is now referred to as 'The Jasmine Revolution.' Just a few weeks later, bloggers and activists in Egypt used Facebook and Twitter to organize protests against the government of Hosni Mubarak. Similar protests broke out in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Yemen, and other countries. Wright posits that the Muslim world is currently experiencing a sentiment of counter-jihad, 'a struggle within the faith itself to rescue Islam's central values from a small but virulent minority.' In Part Two of the book, Wright examines the cultural significance of anti-extremism, from the lyrics of the Tunisian hip-hop artist El General, to the feminist interpretations of the Koran by Amina Wadud. Maz Jabroni and other comedians on the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour are 'waging their own often quirky campaigns against extremism,' and creating alliances across cultural and religious lines. Part Three sums up what is at stake for these nations in turmoil and questions the Obama administration's wavering policies in addressing these international uprisings. Wright is an expert on the subject and this book is an accessible and riveting account for readers looking to learn more about the post-9/11 Islamic world. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
By a veteran reporter, an up-close portrait of the fierce struggle--between moderates and extremists--taking place within the Islamic world today.
A decade after the 9/11 attacks, this groundbreaking book by a preeminent reporter takes readers deep into the struggle within
the Muslim world where a growing movement defies and challenges extremism and repudiates Osama bin Laden, his deviant doctrine, and his violent disciples.
Robin Wright, an acclaimed foreign correspondent and television commentator, has witnessed the angry birth, violent rise, and globalization of Islamic militancy for almost four decades. In her recent reporting, she discovers a stunning new trend spreading within the Muslim world—the rejection of Islamic extremists. This is a historic evolution, slow to take off but now reaching critical mass. This trend is increasingly visible as clerics publicly repudiate Osama bin Laden, Muslim comedians ridicule militancy altogether, young Muslims rap against guns and bombs, women scholars launch liberation movements using the Koran, Pakistani villagers resist Taliban intrusions, and former Egyptian jihadis debate and then denounce violence.
This new jihad, which Wright describes in its many manifestations, has various goals. For some Muslims, it’s about reforming the faith. For others, it’s about reforming political systems. For all, it is about achieving basic rights—on their own terms, not Western ones. What is at its heart is the rejection of venomous ideologies, suicide bombs, plane hijackings, hostage-takings, and mass violence.
Muslims, Wright demonstrates, are doing what the West cannot—confronting extremism on its own terms and rescuing the faith from a virulent minority and changing history.
About the Author
Robin Wright has reported from more than a 140 countries on six continents for The Washington Post
, The Los Angeles Times
, The New Yorker
, The New York Times Magazine
magazine, The Sunday Times of London
, The Atlantic Monthly
, Foreign Affairs
, Foreign Policy
, the International Herald Tribune
and others. Her foreign tours include the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia
Wright has been a fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Yale, Duke, Stanford, University of California at Santa Barbara, and University of Southern California.
Among many awards, she won the U.N. Correspondents Association Gold Medal for coverage of foreign affairs, the National Magazine Award, and the Overseas Press Club Award for "best reporting in any medium requiring exceptional courage and initiative." The American Academy of Diplomacy selected her as the journalist of the year in 2004. She is also the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. Foundation grant.
Her books include Rock the Casbah, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East, The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran, Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam, Flashpoints: Promise and Peril in a New World, and In the Name of God: The Khomeini Decade.
She is a frequent television commentator on foreign affairs. She has appeared on Meet the Press, This Week, Face the Nation, Charlie Rose, Larry King, all the major morning and evening newscasts on NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, CNN and MSNBC.