In 1095, Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade accompanied by the cry of “Deus lo volt!” (“God wills it.”) It is of course one of the ironies of history that the west has lost all religious grounding while it has become the sole moral, intellectual and cultural guiding force of the middle east. What really is the difference between “Deus Le Volt!” and “Insha’ Allah”? Apparently only that the latter is the rallying call of those who would happily see us reduced to dust and, if the former remains as irrelevant as it is today, may just succeed. Karsh’s book is a good first step in lifting the veil on a tradition that is older and stronger than any of the western democracies.

Islamic imperialism : a history      Efraim Karsh  Islamic Empire History,     Jihad  New Haven : Yale University Press, c 2006 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 276 p. : maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [235]-264) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG

From the first Arab-Islamic Empire of the mid-seventh century to the Ottomans, the last great Muslim empire, the story of the Middle East has been the story of the rise and fall of universal empires and, no less important, of imperialist dreams. So argues Efraim Karsh in this highly provocative book. Rejecting the conventional Western interpretation of Middle Eastern history as an offshoot of global power politics, Karsh contends that the region’s experience is the culmination of long-existing indigenous trends, passions, and patterns of behavior, and that foremost among these is Islam’s millenarian imperial tradition.

The author explores the history of Islam’s imperialism and the persistence of the Ottoman imperialist dream that outlasted World War I to haunt Islamic and Middle Eastern politics to the present day. September 11 can be seen as simply the latest expression of this dream, and such attacks have little to do with U.S. international behavior or policy in the Middle East, says Karsh. The House of Islam’s war for world mastery is traditional, indeed venerable, and it is a quest that is far from over.


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