Islam’s global revival is a hollow shell—and the Muslim world must heed Ali Allawi’s devastating account of how its leaders are failing their peopleby Robin Yassin-Kassab / September 4, 2009 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2009 issue of Prospect Magazine
Above: the heart of Mecca—history and tradition despoiled by Wahhabi vandalism
The Crisis of Islamic Civilization
By Ali A Allawi (Yale, £18.99)
The contemporary religious revival is a complex business. In the same period that Muslim societies, in their weakness, seem to have re-embraced Islam, America, in its strength, has re-embraced Christianity. Western Europe remains avowedly secular.
Despite the contradictions within the west, mainstream Orientalism holds that all cultures are developing towards the universal—or, more specifically, globalised—model of secular modernity and the market. According to this view, the Muslim world experiences backwardness to the extent that it resists secularisation. The Crisis of Islamic Civilization, a subtle and erudite book by former Iraqi minister Ali A Allawi, challenges this thesis. Surveying the Muslim world’s social, economic and moral failures, and the terror espoused by certain Islamist groups, Allawi suggests the problem might not be too much Islam, but too little.