Year: 2016

ISIS: A History

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By: Fawaz A. Gerges

Volume: 4 Issue: 10

October 2016

Review by:

David Grantham, PhD

National Center for Policy Analysis

Dallas, TX

A formidable force of carnage, the Islamic State exercises a rare combination of order and brutally unparalleled among those on history’s list of non-state actors.  The Al-Qaeda offshoot remains, by any reasonable measure of humanity, an unconscionably ruthless organization intent on ushering in its apocalyptic vision of world’s end through the most dreadful examples of butchery.  Yet, the group’s high-profile bloodlust belies the ideological complexities and cultural intricacies that define it. Acclaimed scholar Fawaz A….

Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising

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By: Gilbert Achcar

Volume: 4 Issue: 10

October 2016

Review by:

Damian Doyle, MA

Australian National University

Canberra, Australia

It is almost six years since the world media first fixed its attention on frustrated Arabs mobilising from Tunis to Sana’a as they occupied city squares, staged mass demonstrations, and chanted “the people want the fall of the regime”. Observers continue to seek to understand how protest movements that promised so much have degenerated into repression, extremism, war, and mass displacement. Following an earlier book and numerous other writings, Gilbert Achcar, of the School of…

Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abū Shādūf Expounded: Volume one and two

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By: Humphrey Davies
Yūsuf al-Shirbīnī., Editor

Translated By: Humphrey Davies and Yūsuf al-Shirbīnī

Volume: 4 Issue: 8

August 2016

Review by:

Issa J. Boullata, PhD

McGill University

Montreal, Canada

Humphrey Davies is a distinguished translator who rendered into English such contemporary Arab novelists as Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz, as well as Gamal al-Ghitani, ‘Ala’ al-Aswani, and Elias Khoury among others; he also edited and translated the 19th century masterpiece, Al-Saq ‘ala al-Saq (Leg over Leg) of Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq. In 1981, he obtained his doctoral degree at Berkeley, his PhD dissertation being a study of the 17th-century Egyptian colloquial Arabic in the text of…

Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue

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By: Sam Harris
Maajid Nawaz

Volume: 4 Issue: 8

August 2016

Review by:

Md. Mizanur Rahman

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University

Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The terse volume Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue is a discussion on contemporary Islam between a liberal Muslim and a liberal atheist. The dialogue starts with Maajid Nawaz’s clarification substantiating his earlier contention that Islam is a religion of peace, which to Sam Harris, is nothing but pretense, its impossibility, is inevitable. Nawaz, kind of structuralists way, argues, “my honest view is that Islam is not religion of war or peace- it’s…

Resistance, Revolt, & Gender Justice in Egypt

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By: Mariz Tadros

Volume: 4 Issue: 8

August 2016

Review by:

Michal L. Allon, PhD

Tel Aviv University

Tel Aviv, Israel

Mariz Tadros’s Resistance, Revolt, & Gender Justice in Egypt tells the story of women in modern Egypt and of their struggle for gender justice. The book recounts the mobilization and organizational initiatives of Egyptian women in the last 35 years: the Mubarak regime, the trials and tribulations of the 2011 revolution, the brief military rule of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces under Field Marshal Tantawy, the democratic presidential elections, the Muslim Brotherhood government of…

The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-Development.

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By: Sara Roy

Volume: 4 Issue: 8

August 2016

Review by:

Josef Olmert, PhD

University of South Carolina

Columbia, SC

Sara Roy is definitely the leading expert on the Gaza Streep economy, an expertise which she acquired through hard field work, not by the desk somewhere in the comfort of an American city. This is not being said with the inevitable “but”, or with the expectation of reading now what is so bad about her book. It is a statement of respect and appreciation, and these stay with me, even though I happen to have…

Islam and Popular Culture

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By: Karin van Nieuwkerk,
Mark LeVine,
Martin Stokes, Editor

Volume: 4 Issue: 8

August 2016

Review by:

David C. Mason, PhD

Zayed University

Abu Dhabi, UAE

Islam and Popular Culture is a text that has been edited by three scholars who have published extensively on the subject of culture and Islam: Karin van Niuwkerk (Professor of contemporary Islam in Europe and the Middle East at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands), Mark Levine (Professor of modern Middle East History, University of California, Irvine)—whose Heavy Metal Islam is a book this reviewer both reviewed and enjoyed, and Martin Stokes (King Edward Professor…

Palestinians in Syria: Nakba Memories of Shattered Communities

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By: Anaheed Al-Hardan

Volume: 4 Issue: 8

August 2016

Review by:

Maria Holt, PhD

University of Westminster

UK

Anaheed al-Harden has produced a powerful testimony of a community that, although she could not have known when she began her research, has been swept away by a destructive civil war, a second Nakba for Palestinians in Syria. A Palestinian refugee community has existed in parts of Syria, and especially in Damascus, since the exodus of 1948; on the whole, it has been a relatively tranquil and contented part of the diaspora. Al-Hardan’s book celebrates…

The Gulf Monarchies and Climate Change: Abu Dhabi and Qatar in an Era of Natural Unsustainability

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By: Mari Luomi

Volume: 4 Issue: 7

July 2016

Review by:

Feras Klenk, ABD

University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ

In the introduction of her book, The Gulf Monarchies and Climate Change, Mari Luomi asks whether the Gulf States will survive the “ongoing century of climate change” (p.9) and the short answer is a qualified no. The sale of oil and gas, the main source of wealth for the Gulf monarchies, and their global consumption is a contributing factor to climate change. Luomi states, this may play a role in their potential collapse, as portions…

The Book of Khalid: A Critical Edition

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By: Ameen Rihani
Edited and with an Introduction by Todd Fine

Volume: 4 Issue: 4

July 2016

Review by:

Issa J. Boullata, PhD

McGill University

Montreal, Canada

A great service to scholars of Arab American literature has been rendered by Todd Fine with this critical edition of The Book of Khalid by Ameen Rihani, originally published by Dodd, Mead and Company in New York in 1911. To commemorate the centennial anniversary, Todd fine was the director of “Project Khalid” that brought together scholars and public figures throughout the year to participate in activities in many American centers of learning in order to…

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