Ethics & International Affairs Volume 19.1 (Spring 2005): Book Reviews: The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West Gilles Kepel trans. Pascale Ghazaleh [Excerpt]

Mar 30, 2005

Carolyn M. Warner (reviewer)

Relations between Islam and the West have never been straightforward; just how complicated they are is brought out in Gilles Kepel's book. It is a complex, nuanced, and illuminating analysis and description of the ideological currents and historical events that have created the present-day "war for Muslim minds," or, in the original French title, the "war at the heart of Islam." The latter title conveys more of the book's thrust, as much of it is about the struggle within various strands of Islam to deal with the modern world and to grapple with the presence of the United States in Islam's birthplace. Some of its themes will already be familiar: the rise of neoconservatism and its impact on U.S. foreign policy; the end of the Israeli- Palestinian peace process and its role in Islamic terrorist doctrine; the United States' dependence on Saudi oil; and al-Qaeda's use of terrorism to convert Muslims to its cause. But it is the weaving together of these strands, and the incorporation of less-well-known others, into a coherent, logical, and thorough analysis that distinguishes the book. . . .

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