A Letter From The Publisher, Apr. 16, 1979

"From Casablanca and Algiers to Tehran and Karachi, Islam is reasserting itself as a counterpoint to Western influence," began a lengthy query cabled earlier this year from TIME'S editorial offices in New York to 16 bureaus throughout the world. "We want to examine Islam's resurgence, not simply as another faith but as a political force and potent third ideology competing with Marxism and Western culture in the world today."

Back came reports from more than two dozen correspondents, who visited medinas and mosques, and interviewed sultans and emirs, desert tribesmen and professors of...

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