The Skimmer

Book Review: A World Without Islam by Graham E. Fuller

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A World Without Islam

By Graham E. Fuller

Little, Brown; 328 pages

Despite its sensationalist title, A World Without Islam is a well-reasoned, well-intentioned effort. Fuller, a former CIA station chief in Kabul, is no warmonger. Rather, he wants strategists in Washington and Americans elsewhere to look beyond the banner of religion when puzzling over all the troubles of the Muslim world. The book's episodic sketches of Islamic history emphasize the religion's kinship with Christianity. Terrorism emanating from Pakistan (at the heart of Washington's current foreign policy headaches) has to do less with religious fervor, Fuller argues, than with the legacy of a meddling British empire. Ultimately, he says, "viewing Islam as an explanation obfuscates clear vision" of the real social and political forces that move history along. "Take away religion," writes Fuller, "and there are still causes, campaigns, battles and wars." Perhaps, and for those still peddling the idea of a clash of civilizations, Fuller's book is indeed a useful corrective. But expelling religion from the conversation requires much more than one man's leap of faith.

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