Jan 22 2005

Among the Believers:An Islamic Journey

Published by at 6:03 pm under Books

While this might seem like a book inspired by 9/11 and the subsequent “war on terror’s” focus on islamic terrorism, it is an old book first published in 1981. Written is the form of a travel book it recounts the authors travels to revolutionary Iran just after the fall of the Shah, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. As a travel book it recounts the relatively short time the author spent in each country, and though he seems well connected and attempts to get under the skin of the societies, her is necessarily an outside. More so in Iran which provides the least satisfying part of the book. Pakistan provides the most complete feeling section presumably since Niapaul’s Indian heritage yields a better understanding.
Overall, the conclusion seems that Iran and Pakistan are non functional states since they depend on islamic bases wishful thinking and an unwillingness to go beyond “what is written”. But Islam does provide a sense of pride and identity in both states. In Malaysia and Indonesia, Islam is not central to the cultures but provides an outlet for those torm quickly from a rural, almost isolated village live and thrust into the impersonal modern, westernized, individualistic culture imposed on them. It is the basis for the counter culture.
In all four cases, the West is “rejected”, but is counted on to provide some of the modern conveniences that have come to be “necessitites”.
A good read, but somewhat dated.
Author: V.S. Naipaul

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