A Personal Look Inside Modern Islam

There is a vicious cycle, rotating from Western fear and hatred of Islam to violent Islamic extremism targeting the West and around again, as a new book — reviewed by Arnold R. Isaacs — quietly explains.

Arnold R. Isaacs

For anyone seeking to better understand the recent past and present chaos in the Arab world, here’s a tip: read Generation Revolution. To be clear, this book does not report on the broad sweep of recent history, or on the entire region. It examines that history through the experiences of a small number of young men and women navigating the last tumultuous decade in one country, Egypt.

Author Rachel Aspden and her book, Generation Revolution.

The author, British journalist Rachel Aspden, carefully avoids generalizing. For the most part, she lets her protagonists’ stories speak for themselves. But those stories, full of compelling detail, give a vivid sense of the conflicting forces that propelled upheavals not only in Egypt but across a wide swath of the Middle East.

Aspden arrived in Cairo in the summer of 2003, a 23-year-old brand-new university graduate hoping to learn Arabic and find adventure. As she came to know her Egyptian contemporaries, young men and women of her generation whose world was interconnected in ways their parents could not have imagined, she began to see the complex and contradictory currents that were shaping their lives.

As one of many examples, here’s what Aspden writes about a young woman from a middle-class family who was almost exactly her own age:

“However well-off their families, Cairo’s twenty-first-century twenty-somethings still inhabited a world of arranged marriages, dowries, virginity, filial obedience and religious obligation. But the old rules were only part of the story. Her generation had grown up with Internet porn, Hollywood rom-coms, women’s magazines, illicit nightclubs, mobile phones and social-media flirtations. They’d also grown up with the revival of conservative Islam, the spread of headscarves and prayer bruises — marks sported by men who pressed their foreheads ostentatiously hard to the ground in worship — sexual harassment and mass unemployment. All these currents collided in the world of relationships and marriage. The confusion was driving young people crazy.”

Initially, Aspden found it paradoxical that many — though not all — of the educated young people she met were drawn to conservative religious beliefs and practice, rather than seeking greater personal freedoms. But she came to see that turning to religion was another form of rebellion, “an act of defiance against their parents’ generation and the unjust, corrupt society they had helped create.” It was also a way to a better, cleaner identity. One of her subjects, a young man she calls Ayman, explained it to her this way:

“People like us were brought up in a Westernized way, let’s say 80% Westernized…. We went to English-language schools, we watched American TV, all that stuff. And many people just continue on that path. But why should we adopt the mindset of the West? As far as I’m concerned there are three mindsets: Western, Eastern and religious. The first two are both rubbish, both bad in their own ways…. Western — do anything you want, no boundaries, make money, exploit women, consume. Eastern — oppress women, corruption, ignorant traditions, stuck in the past.”

Rather than accept either of those, Ayman went on, he chose to listen to an inner voice he knew had better answers: “God put something inside you that will guide you to the truth, if you’re seeking it sincerely.”

In describing this and many other conversations, Aspden’s reporting makes another very important point: that the Islamic revival of the last four decades has been anything but a simple story of fundamentalism vs. modernism. Instead she shows that Islamism in Egypt has taken many different forms, some fanatically reactionary and intolerant and some trying to find ways to reconcile strong religious belief with life in a modern, diverse world.

In particular it is worth pointing out that her observations completely undercut the argument of American anti-Muslim activists who portray the Muslim Brotherhood as a violent terrorist organization. The Brotherhood, Egypt’s most significant Islamist movement, is shown in these pages as repressive and theocratic but not violently extremist.

“The Brotherhood aren’t using violence, they’re using democracy, but the word is ‘using,'” a more liberal Islamist told Aspden, adding: “using is different from believing. They are using democratic actions to pursue a fundamentalist vision.” When Aspden asked what that vision was, he replied, “The dream of the supremacy of Islam.”

Whether that nonviolent character will change now that the Brotherhood is once again being suppressed is one of many critical questions that will only be answered in coming years.

Four-Year Lapse

Aspden left Cairo in 2005, then returned in 2011, the year that began with huge anti-government protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak and touched off a turbulent chain of events: the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power, a continuing cycle of protests and repression, and the return to military rule under Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi after a coup d’etat in the summer of 2013 that led to even harsher repression including a military assault that killed as many as 1,000 pro-Brotherhood demonstrators in the streets of Cairo in the aftermath of the coup.

Egyptian President Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi, who overthrew the elected Muslim Brotherhood government.

Again, Aspden portrays those events largely through the experiences of a small group of acquaintances, including many of the same men and women she knew from her earlier Egyptian stay. And again, those experiences are rich in telling moments that help explain a complicated history, illuminating issues and social divisions that are still far from resolved.

Narrow as its lens may be, Generation Revolution represents journalism at its best — an exceptional piece of reporting on a vitally important subject. This valuable book should be on the required reading list for policymakers and opinionmakers concerned with Middle East policy and violent extremism.

A conventional review would end here. This one carries a postscript, on an episode that departs from the author’s main theme but touches on another important one. It occurred in an exchange with the brother of one of her principal protagonists, a few months before Aspden left Egypt for the second time.

When their conversation turned to the Islamic State, which he called by its Arabic name, Daesh, the young man told her that it has the support of many Egyptians who “believe they’re fighting to protect Islam.” Then he added: “We don’t know that Daesh are real. There’s no proof of what’s really going on there, and there’s a lot of manipulation by the Western media… Hollywood tricks. Those beheading videos could easily be faked in a studio.”

Aspden had heard that argument before. She was “frustrated,” she writes, “by the baroque conspiracy theories voiced by clever, educated people, and they in turn were disappointed by my weak-minded general belief in events reported by the BBC, New York Times or Guardian.”

“What do you think is the truth, then?” she asked Mazen’s brother.

“For me it’s obvious,” he replied. “Daesh has been created by Israel and the United States to discredit Muslims and provide the West with another excuse to invade and seize the oil.”

What sounded to Aspden like “a fringe conspiracy theory,” she writes, “was, in Egypt, a generally accepted truth. When I switched on my computer at home, my friends were sharing a cartoon of an Islamic State jihadi puppet operated by the figures of a leering, hook-nosed Jew and Uncle Sam.”

At a moment when “fake news” has become a major concern, that passage teaches a chilling lesson not about Egypt but about our own public discussion. It tells us that politicians and their mouthpieces and partisan pontificators who push out false information do not just strengthen their own lies. They strengthen their enemies’ lies as well, because weakening truth weakens it for everybody.

Aspden’s Egyptian acquaintances who are sure the Islamic State is an American-Israeli hoax (and who scoff at her for trusting the BBC and the New York Times) — are the mirror image of Americans who believe other falsehoods — for example that “we don’t know who is coming in” as refugees, or that a vast Muslim conspiracy is infiltrating the U.S. legal system to impose sharia law — and who scoff at the identical news organizations and everyone else who reports facts they don’t like.

The more effectively one side undermines public trust in journalists or scientists or scholars who present real facts, the easier it becomes for those on the other side to distrust those sources too, and deny facts that are inconsistent with their reality. It may not be one of the lessons Aspden set out to teach in this book, but it is definitely worth thinking about.

Arnold R. Isaacs is a former reporter and foreign correspondent for the Baltimore Sun. He is the author of From Troubled Lands: Listening to Pakistani Americans and Afghan Americans in post-9/11 America and two books relating to the Vietnam war.


58 comments for “A Personal Look Inside Modern Islam

  1. Thom Wright
    April 22, 2017 at 17:40

    The more effectively one side undermines public trust in journalists or scientists or scholars who present real facts……

    “who present real facts……..” What is presented as fact is oftentimes obvious as opinion. Journalists love to present contradictory “facts” insisting all are true. Those who do not “know” the facts are left knowing that at least some journalists lie. Even when it becomes obvious to all that a major news source was lying or acting unethically, that news source will deflect or excuse itself.

    We are each left to our own wits to determine truth in a world of lies, half lies, and truth. Until journalists find a way to properly deal with dishonesty in their own profession they cannot expect to be regarded as truth-tellers.

  2. Julia
    April 19, 2017 at 07:30

    “When their conversation turned to the Islamic State, which he called by its Arabic name, Daesh, the young man told her that it has the support of many Egyptians who “believe they’re fighting to protect Islam.” Then he added: “We don’t know that Daesh are real. There’s no proof of what’s really going on there, and there’s a lot of manipulation by the Western media… Hollywood tricks. Those beheading videos could easily be faked in a studio.”

    I’ve heard the exact same thing spoken here in Germany by a seemingly intelligent and educated Muslim and it made me sick. How can these people, with all honesty, claim that the brutal rape and execution of civilians and POWs by radical Muslims is just a gigantic conspiracy theory intent on slandering Islam? These are the same people who claim that the Holocaust was just a gigantic pro-Zionist hoax to garner Western support for Israel. These are the same people who think that thousands of Jews were tipped off about the impending 9/11 attacks.

    Muslims, on average, love indulding in conspiracy theories and can generelly work with two main scapegoats: Israel and the USA. Those two are responsible for everything that goes wrong in their countries.
    Couple that with an extreme willingness to migrate as soon as problems arise and the world is faced with the prospect of millions of semi-fanatical Muslims populating the West. Seemingly integrated due to language and scholarly qualifications, but inwardly still very much set in the fundamentalist mindset which has, ironically, turned their homelands into terrorist breeding grounds.

    Islamic radicalization doesn’t begin in the Mosque with some insane Immam. It begins at home where the bedrock is laid for slow but steady indoctrination into a religious cult which embraces conformity, sexism, intolerance, violent expansion and the suffocation of any individuality (human rights, freedom of speech, democracy and the free press).

    • MA
      April 20, 2017 at 15:12



      Zionist have been fraudulently building the case for creation of Israel by fraudulently projecting false propaganda of plight of 6million Jews from as early as 1915 through to the 2nd world war, as evident from the video below. They even mention an other Holocaust occurring as early as 1936, three and a half years before WW2 had even started (no doubt countless Jews and other ethnic groups lost their lives during world war2 but consistent mantra of 6 million Jews since 1915, well before Hitler even gained power in Germany, paints entirely different picture of Zionists – a fraudulent picture).



      Zionists, in WW1, against the greater interests of German Jews, conspired against their German homeland and bribed almost defeated Britain with American involvement in the war from their side and got the Balfour Declaration as return of their favour, as evident from Benjamin H Freedman’s speech of 1961 as referenced below:



      During the period of British Mandate large number of Jews were brought from all over the world mainly from Europe. Many of them organised themselves into terrorist groups. Haganah, Irgune and Lehi are particularly notorious. They started murdering local Arab populations. Many Arab villages were attacked, flattened and their populations murdered. Deir Yassin was one such village. Large numbers of Palestinians were terrorised to leave their home land and to flee for their lives.

      “Irgun was described as a terrorist organization by the United Nations, British, and United States governments, and in media such as The New York Times newspaper,[20][21] and by the Anglo-American Committee of Inquiry.[22] In 1946, The World Zionist Congress strongly condemned terrorist activities in Palestine and “the shedding of innocent blood as a means of political warfare”. Irgun was specifically condemned.[23]

      Menachem Begin was called a terrorist and a fascist by Albert Einstein and 27 other prominent Jewish intellectuals in a letter to the New York Times which was published on December 4, 1948. Specifically condemned was the participation of the Irgun in the Deir Yassin massacre:[24]

      “terrorist bands attacked this peaceful village, which was not a military objective in the fighting, killed most of its inhabitants – 240 men, women and children – and kept a few of them alive to parade as captives through the streets of Jerusalem.”
      The letter warns American Jews against supporting Begin’s request for funding of his political party Herut, and ends with the warning:

      “The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party and their record of past performance in Palestine bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike), and misrepresentation are means, and a “Leader State” is the goal.”[24]
      Lehi was described as a terrorist organization[25] by the British authorities and United Nations mediator Ralph Bunche.[26]”




      ‘Yitzhak Rabin, who would later become Prime Minister, told Le Monde the year following the ’67 war, “I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions which he sent to the Sinai, on May 14, would not have been sufficient to start an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”

      Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin acknowledged in a speech in 1982 that its war on Egypt in 1956 was a war of “choice” and that, “In June 1967 we again had a choice. The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.” ‘


      ‘The current Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Michael B. Oren, acknowledged in his book “Six Days of War“, widely regarded as the definitive account of the war, that “By all reports Israel received from the Americans, and according to its own intelligence, Nasser had no interest in bloodshed”.’



      @ Imprisonment of a whole nation within an open prison with total land, air and sea blockade.

      @ indiscriminate killing of Palestinians in their thousands including hundreds of children and women every time they show any uprising against this inhumane treatment by Israeli armed forces. Some Israeli politicians call it seasonal “mowing of grass”.
      @ Deliberately targeting 10 years old children playing on beaches.
      @ Bulldozing and killing of foreign media personnel to stop them reporting the inhumane treatment meted towards Palestinians.

      All of above by Likud government of Netanyahu, direct descendent of terrorist Menachem Begin’s party Herut.


      “Hitler did not want to exterminate the Jews”


  3. Kn tlt
    April 18, 2017 at 23:50

    Did I get it wrong or is the author of the article trying to convince us that to believe that ISIS is an CIA/Mossad/Saudi/Qatari construct is conspiracy theory?
    If that is the case, who supplied 1500 new Toyota Lux pickups to ISIS in its very first days? That is a ship load, which was the port of entry? If they are terrorists and strong enough to fight the Iraqi and Syrian armies, who are their bankers, arms suppliers and so many others?
    Or maybe they have the magic lamp with a very generous genie.

  4. anarchyst
    April 18, 2017 at 09:49

    Islam and Judaism share many similarities, each bearing its own form of “supremacism”, relegating all others to lesser status.
    The Jewish Talmud states that gentiles are subhuman “animals, (equivalent to livestock) with souls”, whose only purpose is to “serve the Jews”. Islamic teachings also place non-believers as “infidels”, to be killed, unless a purpose can be found to allow them to live. In this case, a non-moslem cannot testify against a moslem, and must pay the “jizya”, a special tax for infidels who are allowed to live.
    There is one striking difference between Judaism and Islam, which is the way Jesus Christ is portrayed.
    The Jewish Talmud regards Jesus Christ as the “enemy”, boiling in excrement for eternity, while his mother Mary is considered to be a harlot who consorted with a Roman soldier to conceive Jesus Christ.
    The Qur’an states that Jesus is a great prophet, not the “Son of God” but a great prophet, nonetheless, while his mother Mary is specifically mentioned in the Qur’an and is given a place of high honor.
    Now, which belief system is less hostile to Christianity?

    • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
      April 18, 2017 at 19:33

      Actually Islam DOES not allow killing “infidels” as you state!!! I challenge you to get a real reference from the Quran or the teachings of Muhammad to support what you claim………..The “jizya” is a tax like you pay in any country. Muslims pay “zakat” to look after the general needs of the society (again like the tax you pay). For non-Muslims living under Muslim Rule that “Jizya” is their parallel of “zakat” which is the equivalent of the taxes……………..I hope that helps……………….

      • anarchyst
        April 21, 2017 at 09:10

        I see that there is a certain amount of “taquiya” going on here. The “jizya” tax is not levied on moslems–only “infidels”. Also the concept of an “infidel” not being permitted to testify against a moslem is very real in moslem countries. Infidels do not have defined “rights” in moslem countries.
        Infidels are “third-class citizens” and are treated as such.
        The same parallels exist with the jewish talmud, which is the jewish equivalent to islamic supremacy.

        • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
          April 21, 2017 at 19:44

          God Help us all……………….please go get some help and I am praying for you………..

    • Kn tlt
      April 18, 2017 at 23:15

      anarchyst.. Mary peace be upon her is the only women reffered to by name in the Quran. Not even Muhammad’s mother Peace be upon him. Jesus is named over fourty times, Muhammad a few times Peace be upon them. Jesus is sent as “a mercy onto mankind.” To be a Muslim you must believe in all the messengers who are sent by one God and his proper name in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, is Allah.

  5. April 17, 2017 at 20:21

    All religions create the believers’ biases that other religions are wrong, and inherently people are more emotional than rational. The divisions created by the colonial powers, elitists, at the end of WWI through the Sykes-Picot Treaty, set the basis for sectarian conflict. The Soviets made a rational decision that their attempts to control Afghanistan were futile and it was in their best interest to get out in the 1980s, and then the US took over. Besides that, the US has, through the CIA, been meddling in Islamic nations since the 1940s. We have had blowback ever since.

    Whether one does or does not support Islam, religious belief is a choice both cultural and personal. The current geopolitics have exploited it to create enmity, resentment, and hatred, and the US bears a large burden of blame with its meddling, which is at bottom line really for resource grabbing, cloaked by a mantle of false “democracy”. No, it’s not “They hate us for our freedoms”. They hate us for the nasty neocolonialist behavior of our “leaders” (I can hardly call them that) who sold their people on bringing “democracy” with bombs to Middle East countries, really in order to get their oil and gas and whatever else they might want to take.

  6. Handsome Jack
    April 17, 2017 at 18:56

    “For me it’s obvious,” he replied. “Daesh has been created by Israel and the United States to discredit Muslims and provide the West with another excuse to invade and seize the oil”

    For me, it’s obvious, this muzzie is naive enough to not realize how awful Islam is and since he can’t blame Islam, he blames the Joos. Shiite and Sunni are fighting over rival oil pipelines. That’s muzzie fighting.

    • Joe Tedesky
      April 17, 2017 at 21:29

      None of what’s happening with Islam and the Middle East would have happened without the overplayed reaction the Zionist took away from the Balfour Declaration. Prior to that piece of literature coming into play Palestine was a decent place where multi religious and multi cultural people’s lived, and worked side by side. The Zionist weren’t contend with assimilation so thus there was the Haganah, then later came the Irgun who brought about the Deir Yassin massacre, and the King David Hotel bombing. These terrorist acts weren’t the result of anyone reading too much of the Koran, but possibly by reading to much into the Torah. The crew of the USS Liberty didn’t report any Muslims attacking them on that fateful day June 8th 1967 when Israel decided to attack the slightly armed Navy ship, killing 34 U.S. Navy personnel and wounding 171. In fact with what we are dealing with now, is the Yinon Plan or the Clean Break Strategy a Muslim creation?

      Handsome Jack please make your comments into an intelligent debate, otherwise what you are doing here makes you sound ignorant and stupid…this isn’t Breibart, it’s consortiumnews. Take care Joe

      • April 17, 2017 at 22:53

        hear hear….the zionist are not all rhetoric….remember the Liberty

      • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
        April 18, 2017 at 18:10

        You expect someone like that to make his comments into an intelligent debate?! Are you kidding me!!

    • Kn tlt
      April 18, 2017 at 23:05

      Ugly Jack… be gone, moron.
      You are a Haifa house wife earning a few shekels, aren’t you?

    • MA
      April 20, 2017 at 15:43

      If ISIS are true jihadist struggling to establish a truly Islamic Caliphate and they need territory then, as true jihadists there first and foremost obligation is to try to free the Muslim lands under Israel’s occupation. If not whole of Palestine, at least the Golan Heights which is close to their area of influence … at least a token strike! If this is not happening and their activities are damaging the interests of two already Muslim countries and their inhabitants and strengthening the interests of Israel then it should not be difficult to see who the so called ISIS is working for.

  7. April 17, 2017 at 18:30

    At least one can say there are victimized Islamics in the countries where the West has meddled who clearly recognize the meddling, whereas the Americans and some other western nationals go right along with the meddling as justified. I have to say that I agree with Iranians who call America “The Great Satan”. After seeing the chaos and murder caused by America, I think they are exactly right!

  8. mike k
    April 17, 2017 at 17:32

    We need to ask ourselves, would Isis exist if America had not meddled in the affairs of the middle east for decades? I think not.

    • Handsome Jack
      April 17, 2017 at 18:58

      Umm… I guess you forgot about the Boko Haram, Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, al Qaeda, Mafia, Thuggee, Nazis… oh, but ISIS is white man’s fault.

      • Kn tlt
        April 18, 2017 at 23:00

        Ugly Jack… we have not forgotten that Israeli State Intelligent Services (ISIS) fighters get medical treatment in Israhell. We also noted that not one Israeli Soldier got attacked by ISIS until today. But I bet you did not know that the a Syrian helicopter sank a Israhelli Dolphin sub with a Russian made homing torpedo when it was trying to drop off some zionists into the Golan heights to provide strategic advice to ISIS. Look troll, everyone is getting to know that whenever anything stinks in the ME, it is a given a zionist is behind it.

  9. mike k
    April 17, 2017 at 17:29

    The more Americans come to know about the realities of the vast, diverse religious phenomenon of Islam, the better off the world will be.

    • Handsome Jack
      April 17, 2017 at 18:58

      ‘Diverse’? How is a religion that forbids eating with the left hand ‘diverse’? You’re a dhimmi

      • Druid
        April 18, 2017 at 03:27

        Jack, do everyone a favour and revel in your chosen status somewhere else. You truly are a Muslim-hating Ziofascist idiot!

      • Kn tlt
        April 18, 2017 at 22:49

        Ugly Troll Jack… it does not forbid you to eat with any hand. The example of the prophet is that you eat with your right hand and you wash your privates with your left hand. At a time when soap was not in use and medicine’s anti biotics were not available it was a good practice. that is also why people in the East and West shake hands with the right hand. You are faking ignorance. you are a troll.

  10. Edward
    April 17, 2017 at 17:15

    “Aspden’s Egyptian acquaintances who are sure the Islamic State is an American-Israeli hoax (and who scoff at her for trusting the BBC and the New York Times) — are the mirror image of Americans who believe other falsehoods”

    Isaacs assumes these Egyptians are wrong without any evidence.

    • mike k
      April 17, 2017 at 17:25

      Apparently you do not understand that the so-called Islamic State group is a creation of the US government and it’s ally Israel. Do you really think that is beyond possibility by our always benign CIA etc? Or maybe the Israeli government is too pure to take part in such devilish conspiracies?

      • b.grand
        April 17, 2017 at 17:51

        Mike, actually Edward does understand that. You need to read his comment more carefully.

      • Handsome Jack
        April 17, 2017 at 18:59

        mike, you’re quite the Jewphobe aren’t you?

        • April 17, 2017 at 21:09

          ugly jerk, you are quite the muslim hater arnt you? take a walk troll…

        • Kn tlt
          April 18, 2017 at 22:43

          Ugly Jack… I am not a Jew hater but I do dispise zionist as much as Jews dispise them. We need to free America by locking up Israeli First Neocons and saving $38 billion over 5 years to treat and take care of our Vets who suffered getting devastated implementing the Greater Israel Plan. Are you one of these Haifa house wife trolls working to poison and corrupt every discussion?

      • Edward
        April 17, 2017 at 22:36

        mike k,

        The first sentence in my comment was a quote from the article. I was criticizing Isaacs for simply assuming the Egyptians are wrong. I share your view that the U.S. has been supporting the jihadists. I believe that they call this strategy “offshore balancing”. I also think people who don’t trust the BBC or NYT show more perception and sophistication then those who do.

        • April 18, 2017 at 14:38

          One wikileaks H email stated from H to P that Saudi and Qatar goverments funded Isis. This was before H sold largest amount of arms in world history to Saudis and C foundation received $50 million kickback from Saudis.

  11. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    April 17, 2017 at 15:08

    “Modern Islam”??!! As opposed to what?! “Old Islam”??!!……..Is there a “modern Islam” and an “old one”??!! Did the writer even think before writing?! And the “enlightened” author the book did not know that there are so many Americans who actually believe that the mainstream American Media is no more than mouthpieces for the 1% who own and run America?! In fact it is a sign of hope that young Egyptians KNOW that The New York Times, and other Western Mainstream Media Outlets are propaganda tools for the 1%.

    Here it is for the “enlightened Author” and her equally “enlightened Reviewer”: Mark Twain said “if you do not read the newspapers you will be UNINFORMED” and if you do read them you will become MISINFORMED…….may be the Author and the Reviewer need to stop writing and start READING some good quality material………….

    • rosemerry
      April 17, 2017 at 17:48

      misinformed, yes. “my weak-minded general belief in events reported by the BBC, New York Times or Guardian.”
      Not only Egyptians would voice this statement. Has the author really found these sources accurate on any issue involving the USA/UK and Muslim nations?

  12. Bill Bodden
    April 17, 2017 at 12:17

    For anyone seeking to better understand the recent past and present chaos in the Arab world, here’s a tip: read Generation Revolution.

    While this book no doubt has many virtues the most urgent need today is for an avalanche of publications to help people understand the past two centuries of empire building directed from Washington and the present chaos in the entire world that is, in great part, due to this pursuit of empire. Consortium News makes a great contribution, but it and similar websites need to reach larger audiences.

    • mike k
      April 17, 2017 at 14:12

      One functions of the small groups I recommend us forming is to wake people to sites like Cn, so crucial to getting the real truth out in these times of confusing propaganda.

      • Handsome Jack
        April 17, 2017 at 19:01

        “so crucial to getting the real truth out in these times of confusing propaganda”
        Real truth as opposed to fake truth? confusing propaganda.. like the Quran?

    • April 17, 2017 at 14:13

      very true…a very immediate danger to reaching larger audiences is the First Draft Group and their supporting financiers…the globalists own the internet’s infrastructure and apparently most of its major sites….if they get their legislation passed…the independent news services in this country will simply disappear…everyone will still watch their sports and play their games…but anyone declared “fake news” will not be found…they are running for this agenda right now…

  13. mike k
    April 17, 2017 at 11:30

    Good article hinting at the complexity of Islam and the variety of ways it’s followers and adversaries understand it. The final paragraphs dealing with the virulent contagiousness of paranoid thinking and framing of reality is significant. We are losing touch with simple truth and clear perceptions of reality in the escalation on a worldwide level of competing lies and paranoias.

    • April 17, 2017 at 20:57

      how about some real facts to backup your “simplicity theory” and maybe a general inability to insult contributors to this forum….

  14. Sunset
    April 17, 2017 at 10:19

    Just finished, and highly recommend, reading Andwar el-Sadat’s auto-biography IN SEARCH OF IDENTITY.

  15. Herman
    April 17, 2017 at 09:24

    Do religious views shape events, the opposite, or both. Perhaps being simplistic, religious is often a justification of actions rather than the reasons for them. People looking to achieve objectives often cherry pick religious beliefs and act as if it is the religious beliefs that are driving them rather for different reasons altogether. When Christians killed Muslims and the Muslims killed the Christians, there is something far more basic is at work while hiding behind banners which give courage to their followers to do violence.

    Why do we know this is true? Because we know good and decent Christians and Muslims with strong attachments to their religion who live side by side in peace and are not driven by passages in the Bibles and Korans to kill each other.

    • Dennis Merwood
      April 17, 2017 at 14:56

      “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” Who said this?

      • Kn tlt
        April 18, 2017 at 22:24

        There is nothing wrong with religion. We need an inner life with Logos and an inner curriculum of spiritual practice. The trouble is not inherent in religion, but in those small people who turn religion into contact sports. “We are better than you” or “my God is bigger than yours.”
        Every exterior superiority is underpinned by an interior inferiority.

        • tina
          April 18, 2017 at 23:07

          Best would be no inferiority, or superiority, how can we get rid of human nature? Imagine, as John Lennon sang.

        • Dennis Merwood
          April 20, 2017 at 03:49

          I leave it to the faithful to burn each other’s churches and mosques and synagogues, which they can be always relied upon to do”
          ? Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

          • Libby
            April 20, 2017 at 12:33

            Why do we need to confuse God with humanity’s worst distortions of God and religion? This contributes to the lack of truth in the world.

    • Handsome Jack
      April 17, 2017 at 19:04

      PLEASE cite a passage where Christ commanded to kill each other? Oh, NONE. While HALF of the Quran is dedicated to killing nonmuslims. This lazy relativism is what’s causing the problem in the west. The ONLY nations where Christians and Muslims ‘live side by side in peace’ is in WESTERN nations, and we already know THAT isn’t true based on the rising crime of Muslim ‘refugees’

      • April 17, 2017 at 21:00

        Have u never read the old testament? probably not…..

      • FobosDeimos
        April 17, 2017 at 21:10

        The New Testament and Jesus’ teachings are certainly an improvement over the founding pillars of the Old Testament, which is a eulogy to genocide by the chosen people committed or to be committed against everybody else. But “Christians” regularly resorted to the Old Testament and to many of Jesus’ exclusivist proclamations in order to justify holy war against the infidels, the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc.

      • Abi
        April 17, 2017 at 22:12

        This is not true. In Africa, we have a high degree of religious tolerance. Specifically, in my home country, we can live side by side with no problem, you can find a mosque and church side by side on the same street. And even more specifically, you can find a Muslim mum and a Christian dad in so many families, sometimes one kid may choose to be Muslim, while the other chooses to be Christian. The West is not the only place you find open-mindedness and tolerance.

        • Gregory Herr
          April 18, 2017 at 21:14

          “The West is not the only place you find open-mindedness and tolerance.”

          That’s very generous of you Abi. I live in a Western culture and open-mindedness seems to me to be at a premium.

        • Libby
          April 20, 2017 at 13:28

          This has been generally true as well throughout the Middle East until modern times. Islam was historically tolerant of both Judaism and Christianity; see even the collaborative efforts, not only in everyday living and government, but also in religious study, as occurred in medieval Spain.

          In many ways, modern society everywhere has gone backwards.
          In the West today there is an almost total confusion between religious thought and truth and its social manifestations. Need I say they are not the same?

          Metaphysical truth is logically and philosophically the same in all religions. Its social manifestations everywhere include misinterpretation and misappropriation of ‘religious’ truth, partial truth, and the subversion of truth.

        • Thomas Phillips
          April 20, 2017 at 15:26

          Muslims and Christians live in peace in Syria. They also fight together in the army of the Syrian republic. Assad belongs to a Shiite sect, but there are as many or more Sunnis in the Syrian army.

      • Druid
        April 18, 2017 at 03:24

        U r fos!

      • April 18, 2017 at 14:34

        Da-esh thrives on your mentality.

      • Gregory Herr
        April 18, 2017 at 21:07

        Syrians, before having their home ravaged by U.S. supported terrorists, practiced religious diversity side by side and in peace.

      • Kn tlt
        April 18, 2017 at 22:32

        Jack… the Quraan was revealed over 23 years. The context of the verses and their causes for revelation are indispensable to understanding the Quraan.
        At the risk of boring you with information you already know, there are 14 synonyms to the word “sword” in Arabic, not one of them is used once in the Quraan. However, look at the Old Testament it has used the word “sword” over 200 times. Like I said, I am sure you knew that already.

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