Milestones Sep. 11, 2006

To me, Naguib Mahfouz, who died last week at 94, was a true hero in this Islamophobic age, the sort of brilliant, embattled writer and public intellectual who has almost ceased to exist. Prolific and serene, Naguib-bey stood his ground, which was Egypt. He did not leave, even to collect his Nobel Prize. He wrote about growing up in Cairo, about movie stars, madmen, beggars, pashas, gods and religion. His bravest book is Children of the Alley, with its parable of Islam--banned in most Arab countries. Condemned to death in a fatwa issued by Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, he continued defiantly...

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