Exploring the beliefs, history and politics of the ordinary people of Muslim countries, Grieve cuts through the complexities as he examines all aspects of Islam. He also addresses the big issues: can Islam support true democracy? Is true democracy what the West really wants for Muslim countries or are we merely seeking a cover of legitimacy for a policy of 'might is right'?
Paul Grieve is an unbeliever - he is not a born-again Muslim, a proselytizer or a frustrated desert romantic. His aim is to inform. The result is an accessible but never simplistic guide that challenges
stereotypical views, from women and banking to war and Malcolm X.
Complete with advice for visitors to Muslim countries, and with carefully chosen primary sources, maps and illustrations, this is the ideal summary for the reader looking for an unbiased overview of the religious and political world issues that have become part of our everyday lives.
Grieve, a London-based writer and self-styled student and traveler of the Islamic world, puts forward a riveting book on Islam that decries and then corrects the widespread ignorance about the faith and its history. He consistently jolts the reader out of preconceived notions about Islam and Muslims, particularly concerning the Palestinian conflict. Grieve's precise insights into the Muslim worlds, past and present, are astonishingly accurate. He provides the real and surprising backstory on everything from the Crusades and colonialism to Muslim immigration to Europe and women under Islam. He also provides succinct introductory information on Islam, including recommending Qur'an translations and reviewing standard prayer techniques. Of the harsh reputation Islam has received in the West, Grieve writes: "The universal message of Christianity would be similarly diminished... if the faith were to be defined only by reference to sectarian murders in Northern Ireland, the history of the Spanish Inquisition, or the sad stories of lust and greed in modern television evangelism." His book is by no means an ode of praise to Islam; he is properly critical of the marginalization of women in Muslim societies, which he argues will hold the Muslim world back. If you read only one book about Islam this year, this should be it.