"Islam''s revival is reshaping Egypt and other Arab countries in
ways beyond violent politics. The yearning for personal solace, a
just political system, indigenous lifestyles, and relevant theology
all await satisfaction....Just as the Nile runs through Egypt for
almost eight hundred miles, giving it life, so also the Straight
Way, the way of Allah, runs through it, beckoning its people. The
search by Egypt''s Muslims for a modern understanding of the
Straight Way is the essence of today''s passion for Islam."
-- from Chapter 1, "First Verses"
Written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, this
authoritative and enthralling primer on the modern face of Islam
provides one of the most comprehensive accountings for the roots of
religious terrorism and Middle Eastern strife.
Over decades, a myriad of social, political, and religious
factors has made today''s Middle East a combustible region and has
contributed to Islam''s new power and turmoil. Passion for
Islam uses one particular country, Egypt, as a lens through
which to show how these forces play out across the area, allowing
terrorism to gain a foothold.
Through the personal experiences and observations of individual
Egyptians encountered during her five years as the Washington
Post''s Cairo bureau chief, veteran journalist Caryle Murphy
explores how Islam''s contemporary revival is unfolding on four
different levels: "Pious Islam" highlights the groundswell of
grassroots piety that has created more Islamic societies;
"Political Islam" examines how Islamists, using both violent and
peaceful means, are reshaping the region''s authoritarian secular
political order and redefining Islam''s role in the public arena;
"Cultural Islam" looks at Egyptian efforts to resist a ubiquitous
Western culture by asserting an Islamic identity; "Thinking Islam"
reveals how intellectuals are reexamining their theological
heritage with the aim of modernizing Islam.
Representing years of exhaustive research, Passion for
Islam also looks at how the tortured Israeli-Palestinian
conflict has contributed to the region''s religious ferment and
political tumult. By revealing the day-to-day ramifications of all
these issues through the eyes of Egyptian intellectuals, holy men,
revolutionaries, and ordinary citizens, Passion for Islam
brings an unparalleled vitality and depth to Western perceptions of
Middle Eastern conflict.