Click Here To Purchase The Long Struggle: The Muslim Worlds Western Problem

Author: Amil Khan

Publisher: Zero Books

ISBN: 978-1-84694-368-3

In this book Amil Khan, a British journalist of Pakistani origin, attempts to unravel the most challenging issue governments in both Muslim and western states are facing in the 21st century – that of Islamic radicalism. In view of the recent killing of Osama Bin Laden, the ongoing war in Afghanistan and the civil unrest in many Arab countries, this short book of just 102 pages is perhaps quite timely. But, although Mr Khan addresses the historical background to the Islamic religion, unless the reader is of the Muslim faith, I feel they may struggle to come to terms with the intricacies of this book even though it aims to explain the culture and politics behind the rise in Islamic extremism.

The writer includes many personal observations based on meetings with ordinary Muslims and it can be easy to appreciate how in some cases radical views have been shaped by the effects of US and British foreign policy. Young Muslims are deeply troubled by the events that have occurred in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq and they often have reason to cast much of the blame on the west that they see as the aggressors. However, it must not be forgotten that within the Muslim faith different factions are also killing each other merely because they one cannot accept the other’s interpretation of their religion. But can any policies excuse the killing of totally innocent people in the name of religion? Unfortunately there are those that think it can.

It is interesting how in the light of what has taken place in the Middle East that Mr Khan mentions the fact that ‘formerly solid’ Egypt was looking more fragile. What makes this assessment more poignant is that his book was written prior to the events in that country and before the violence erupted in Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. Although it might be argued that Egypt, Libya and Bahrain are considerably influenced by the west, this is far less true of Yemen and Syria, which seems to confirm the view that the populations of these countries are not only being radicalised by western interference. What they are doing is rising up in an attempt to be free of the harsh oppressive regimes that have enforced their will on their people for decades.

Not all followers of Islam are radicals and not all want to blow up western targets; nevertheless there is a sense by many young Muslims that that their countries have been rejected by the west. But as we have seen with the Allied involvement in Libya it is difficult to take sides, and by the west providing their backing to the oppressed rebels against Gaddafi is only likely to cause further anger within some groups.

It is a difficult situation without an easy solution and one that Amil Khan presents in well-balanced terms, but the issues relating to fundamentalism are never likely to go away until there is a better acceptance and understanding between the religions of the world. With the death of Bin Laden now entering the equation, the world must be prepared for a new wave of violence inflicted by those who nurture radical views. This will solve nothing and will serve also to ostracise tens of thousands of non-violent, clear-thinking, moderate members of the Islamic faith.

Mr Khan must be praised for his efforts. Non-Muslims and Muslims should be encouraged to read this book if only to glean a better understanding of a problem that affects us all.

Click Here To Purchase The Long Struggle: The Muslim Worlds Western Problem