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Noah Feldman’s book “The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State” conveys many of the common stereotypes and political assertions that have undermined justice in the Middle East, Arab World and Islamic World. Althoug it offers some deep thought, it is consumed by common stereotypes: for example in Iran, the author argues that Islamicists merged Islamic law with political government, but really doesn’t put the blame where it belongs, on the corruption of American and Western foreign policy which helped create confrontation pushing Muslims into a corner in the world that they have learned to dominate and use as a base for expansion.
Iran was governed by one of the most brutal secular tyrants in the world, the Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi. He was a murderer worse than Saddam Hussein or even Hitler and yet he had the bacing and support of the American government for years as he oppressed his people. When the people of Iran rose to force the Shah out of office — fighting against the Shah and his American supporters — the natural reaction was to turn to an extremist Islamic code of justice to compensate for the American corruption that the Shah represented.
Of course, the author does not address the role of Israel, another instance where Western powers sought to impose political situations on the Middle East only to have created a situation where Christians and Muslims were plagued with Western-style injustice. The response, again, has been an extremist rise of anger against Israel and the West, pushing the two sides to extremist ends.
Never criticism of Israel, of course or its role in pushing the Islamicists to the extreme.
If you strip away the politics and perceptions — which is difficult — Feldman does try to offer an analysis of today’s Islamic world challenges in today’s context. His historical narrative is very accurate in many instances. But the bottom line is that no one can expect the Islamic World to embrace legal reform and the rule of law when it is not practiced in other parts of the Middle East, especially in Israel and in Iraq, which is today an American occupied wasteland and killing field.
The real challenge is to address the hypocrisies of the Western World as it applies to Islam and how the failings of the Western World have made it almost impossible to establish true Democracy in those Islamic countries.
The best answer to the Islamic challenge is to practice what you preach and set an example, rather than explaining how the Islamic World has failed to evolve to meet our, Western, expectations.
A great read, despite some need to reinforce missing aspects of the story.
This post has already been read 41 times!
Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com
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