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The Muslim World Brings Forth a Counter-Jihad

Posted on Sep 16, 2011

By Lee Smith

“Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World”
A book by Robin Wright

With the Arab Spring still unfolding, former Washington Post reporter Robin Wright’s latest book puts the popular uprisings that have swept the Arabic-speaking Middle East from North Africa and the Levant to the Persian Gulf littoral in the context of a larger movement: counter-jihad. Muslims around the world, she writes, are “increasingly rejecting extremism. The many forms of militancy—from the venomous Sunni creed of al-Qaida to the punitive Shiite theocracy in Iran—have proven costly, unproductive and ultimately unappealing.”


book cover


Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World


By Robin Wright


Simon & Schuster, 320 pages


Buy the book

In other words, Osama bin Laden’s efforts produced a result contrary to his intentions. After 9/11 dragged the United States into the Middle East in force, Muslims turned not toward extremism but moderation. According to Wright’s survey of the Muslim world, bin Laden’s message was dead long before the Navy SEALs brought him down in May. “Rock the Casbah,” then, is an introduction to the Muslim world 10 years after 9/11, and the author’s purpose is partly to illuminate and partly to instruct.

From Wright’s perspective, Americans’ view of Muslims and Islam hasn’t caught up to the reality. In spite of developments in the Middle East and elsewhere in the Muslim world, she argues, the past decade here in the United States was “shaped largely by fear of everything from a global clash of civilizations to a new neighborhood mosque.” What’s now required of Americans and their elected officials “is moving beyond fear as the most influential factor in decisions.” And that, she argues, “means more exposure to Muslims or education about Islam.”

Regarding this last, Wright’s book succeeds handsomely. As one of this country’s top Middle East reporters for more than four decades and author of five other books about Islam and the Middle East, she deftly escorts her readers around the region.

To see long excerpts from “Rock the Casbah” at Google Books, click here.

Wright paints broad strokes across a very wide canvas, and so it’s inevitable that the picture will have an occasional distortion. To be sure, her fellow Americans would do well to learn more about the faith of their Muslim neighbors. As we’ve all been witness to this last decade, and as Wright’s book reminds us, Muslims are already part of the fabric of this country.

Lee Smith is a senior editor at the Weekly Standard and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

© 2011, Washington Post Book World Service / Washington Post Writers Group


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By ardee, September 20, 2011 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

Faced with the extremism of their own fundamentalists as well as the extremism of the occupying armies the middle road seems attractive I suppose.

Personally I find the article about as silly as the comments of our resident “expert” who knows “most things better than most people”.

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By drbhelthi, September 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment

“I know more about Islam than most Americans but I still dont know where Islam is going.”  OzarkMichael

How much “most Americans” know about Islam is a big question for me.  What Islam is going to be is indicated by what Islam is and what Islam does, a bit of which is reflected in the statement, “We arent treating Muslims here with the same sort of restrictions that Christians face in many Muslim states.”  The Koran is Islam´s guidebook, and the religious leaders of Islam adhere to its guidebook, suppressing all other religions. Thus, the Koran, and Islam´s current religious practices, predict Islam´s future practices.  How much individual Moslems will occasionally, temporarily deviate from their religious teaching is a question. The same question applies to individual members of all religions.

Obviously, George H.W. Bush Sr. dealt with a marked deck in his dealings with Moslims. Muammar Gadhafi was the only Moslim nation leader who would not be sucked into GHWBush´s marked-card game.  Gadhafi comprehended that Bush-oil-Zionism had to first take away Moslim oil in order to give it back to them.  Being unable to manipulate Gadhafi, the GHWBushSr-oil-Zionist entourage manipulated the leadership puppetry of NATO to do their dirty work for them. While Sarkozy beats his breast in self acclaim, he is the first French leader to act as a political puppet in deposing the only, independent leader of a Moslem nation.

All the GHWBushSr- C.I.A. disinformation about Gadhafi aside, Sarkozy, leader of the NATO puppetry,  made himself a little puissant for the GHWBushSr-oil-Zionist entourage. The Frenchman who destroyed instead of supporting independence. Sarkozy, the Frenchman who assisted to impose Bush-“NAZI-type-democracy” onto a country whose leader had elevated its citizenry from camels to cars. History will clearly record this fact.

Another fact that will be recorded is the greatest “Conspiracy Theory” of all time.  How many millions were spent by the GHWBushSr entourage, producing the official, written fairy tale, hundreds of pages long, trying to convince the world that an organized gang of muslim hoodlums hijacked three airliners on eleven September 2001. Which three airliners were located six months later, still in service with their original airlines. Someone will compile a history of the GHWBushSr fairy tales, beginning with 1936, and Georg H. Scherff, Jr., of Doerlitzsch, Germany. (currently, Doerlitzsch-Narsdorf, Germany)

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By jimbob, September 17, 2011 at 9:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another good read with insights into today’s
Muslim/Arab world and a story to boot: “The Honored
Dead” by Joseph Braude.

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By George Booth, September 17, 2011 at 6:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Islam, however, has not changed.

There are ‘Islamic’ ways for Muslims to live peaceably in non-Muslim societies. Muhammad’s personal conduct in Medina as well as the earliest Koranic verses define them.

But this is not the highest and last of Islam. It is the lowest and beginning. Muslims haven’t come to an new enlightenment, but a general understanding of their weakness.

Jihad is required of every Muslim, at all times. Jihad, however, doesn’t mean ‘Holy War’, just as Muslims have said. What Jihad *does* mean is ‘struggle’, and it does so as broadly and deeply as Muslims make war, without mercy for any man woman or child, without separation of combatant from civilian. In accordance with the Koran’s instruction and Muhammad’s example, they will - temporarily - use methods of seduction and subversion to advance Islam.

The best way to know about a car isn’t to listen to the salesmen, it’s to eavesdrop on mechanics. The best way to understand Islam isn’t to listen to what they say to non-Muslims, but what they say to each other.

Let’s not be stupid about this.

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By OzarkMichael, September 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

It is a little too soon to write that book. All sorts of results are still pending, are up in the air, are yet to be decided from the Arab Spring. Even Islamic fundamentalist governments are still a possibility. Its up to the people there.

Furthermore, i dont see the Arab Spring as an ‘anti-jihad movement’. In its action Arab Spring is ‘anti dictatorship’, and yes thats a good thing. Some jihadist were happy to help overthrow the dictators. What happens next? Do jihadists gain a greater say in the new governments? Hopefully not but the answer isnt in yet.

On the home front, even Krugman admitted the truth. We arent treating Muslims here with the same sort of restrictions that Christians face in many Muslim states. So I am not buying the guilt thing. Nor am i buying into the ignorance thing. I know more about Islam than most Americans but I still dont know where Islam is going.

Dare I say what i feel? Surely I will be called names for it. Here it is anyway:

It isnt for us to decide what Islam is going to be, or how it will effect governments. In this time of Arab Spring, we can only be kind enough not to prejudge the outcome.

How can any Western person determine how Islam should interface with government? how much the law will be based on Quran? how each Muslim person will answer the question in their own way? We dont know any of these things. We just have to wait and see. Even as events unfold we have to wait before we truly understand what it means. 

We shouldnt make our hopes of Islam into their reality. It just isnt for us to decide, and I find Leftist dreams and hopes almost insulting towards Muslims, especially towards the Arab people. Let them decide! It isnt your revolution, Robin Wright.

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By prosefights, September 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

What we did to them perhaps should be considered?

Hello Mr Noack,

Your suggestion to contact Sandia National Laboratories legal department we feel is a bad one for the reason for the reason that Sandia’s lawyer Harold Folley largely caused this unfortunate matter which has escalted into a possibly serious international matter.

Lawyer I consulted with told me that the legal department merely tries to run interference for management. and thus would be ineffective in getting these unfortunate matters peacefully resolved after 19 years.

You said that other connections at Sandia may be able to help. This sounds like a good idea.

We hope to hear from them.

Please ack if you receive this email.


william h payne

Background music.


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By gerard, September 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Obvious criticism:  A book review that leaves out all the important stuff, like—“more exposure to Muslims or education about Islam.”

Perhaps some pithy fundamentals in the book that would give us that “exposure”?

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