How to Win a Cosmic War: Confronting Radical Islam

How to Win a Cosmic War: Confronting Radical Islam

Hardback William Heinemann

By (author) Reza Aslan

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  • Publisher: William Heinemann Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 163mm x 242mm x 22mm | 470g
  • Publication date: 21 May 2009
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0434019798
  • ISBN 13: 9780434019793
  • Sales rank: 535,343

Product description

Why do they hate us? An entire cottage industry has arisen to answer this question. But what no one has really figured out is, who exactly are they? Is it al-Qaeda? Islamic nationalists? The whole Muslim world? "How to Win a Cosmic War" lays out, for the first time, a comprehensive definition of the movement behind and surrounding al-Qaeda and the like, a global ideology properly termed Jihadism. Contrasting twenty-first-century religious extremism across Christianity, Judaism and Islam with its historical antecedents, Aslan demonstrates that while modern Jihadis may have legitimate social grievances - the suffering of the Palestinians, American support for Arab dictators, the presence of foreign troops in Muslim lands, to name a few - they have no real goals or actual agenda.So, what do the Jihadists want? Aslan's answer is: Nothing. The Jihadists have no earthly agenda; they are fighting a metaphysical conflict, a theological war. And ever since 9/11, we have unfortunately been fighting the same cosmic war, the war they want: the so-called War on Terror. How do we win a Cosmic War? By refusing to fight in one. And in this stunning new work, Aslan reveals surprising conclusions about how we can deal with this predicament.

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Author information

Reza Aslan's No God but God was shortlisted for the 2005 Guardian First Book Award in the UK and nominated for a PEN USA award for research Non-Fiction. He has studied religions at the universities of Santa Clara, Harvard and California, Santa Barbara, and holds an MFA in fiction from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he was also visiting assistant professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies. His work has appeared in the Nation, Slate, and the New York Times.

Review quote

"Compelling, penetrative and timely. If more of us in the West grasp Aslan's arguments, we will begin to win the war of ideas against Jihadists and extremists." Ed Husain, author of The Islamist "The chapter on the radicalisation of Europe's young is particularly useful...Aslan opens many fruitful areas of enquiry" Observer

Editorial reviews

An eloquent plea for defanging terrorism with rights for Muslims, both in the West and the Middle East.Iranian-born Aslan (Creative Writing/Univ. of California; No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam, 2005) offers an attention-grabbing proposition: George W. Bush got something right in the Middle East. The former president correctly said that only by extending democratic freedoms to oppressed Muslims in the Middle East could we quell the appeal of terrorism. Yet Bush failed to back up his words, looking the other way in 2006 as Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, an American ally, crushed political opposition. This was a missed opportunity, the author declares, because Egypt's opposition Muslim Brotherhood had proved itself willing to work within the parliamentary system rather than push for a theocracy. Aslan also cites Turkey, where the ruling moderate Islamist party, once given political participation, drew away popular support for extremists. Radical groups like Hamas can be given more governing authority only with restrictions, Aslan admits, though he doesn't spell those out. His main thesis is that the West errs in demonizing al-Qaeda and other jihadists as cosmic evildoers rather than an "international criminal conspiracy to be brought to justice." The author wisely notes that America's openness to religion has spared the United States the violence some Muslims have committed in secular Europe, where their religiosity is frowned upon, and he applauds recent British efforts to overturn the economic and racial discrimination faced by its Muslim community.Even readers who believe a fight with terror requires throwing some military punches will learn from Aslan's endorsement of soft-power approaches. (Kirkus Reviews)