Sunday, July 29, 2007

Among the believers, an Islamic journey

During the Cold war which ended de facto in 1985, everybody was focused on the clash between American capitalism and Russian communism. But in 1981, V.S. Naipaul (Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul) published his book 'Among the Believers, an Islamic Journey'.

I was quite surprised reading his book and since then I am convinced that fundamentalist Islam is the real threat to world peace, as we can see today. Naipaul's writings deal with the cultural confusion of the Third World and the problem of an outsider, a feature of his own experience as an Indian in the West Indies, a West Indian in England, and a nomadic intellectual in a post colonial world.

"Islam sanctified rage - rage about the faith, political rage: one could be like the other. And more than once on this journey I had met sensitive men who were ready to contemplate great convulsions", is a quote from his book.

In 1998 he published Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions among the Converted peoples (the link is a must-read for CHP and AKP fans))

This second travel book brought him (like in Among the Believers) to the non-Arab Islamic countries of Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia.

"There probably has been no imperialism like that of Islam and the Arabs," he writes. In Iran he meets war veterans, who express their disillusionment and their sense of being manipulated by the mullahs, and in Indonesia he meets his former friend, who opposed the Suharto regime, and later became an establishment figure, an advocate of an Islamistic future.

In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Price for Literature. To everybody interested in Turkey and Islam, I would recommend these books.

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