Spokesmen for the Despised: Fundamentalist Leaders of the Middle East

R. Scott Appleby, Editor
R. Scott Appleby, Editor University of Chicago Press $65 (438p) ISBN 978-0-226-02124-9
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Paperback - 429 pages - 978-0-226-02125-6
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Appleby, who with Martin Marty produced the landmark five-volume Fundamentalism Project (Chicago), has collected eight essays by various authors that focus on individual fundamentalist leaders in the Middle East. The leadersDranging from Ayatollah Khomeini and Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadlallah, leader of the Lebanese Shi'ite movement, Hizbullah, to Jan Willem van der Hoeven of the International Christian EmbassyDshare several qualities, including a charismatic stature and a message that appeals to their hearers' feelings of dispossession and marginalization. According to Appleby, these leaders are often so attractive because they ""reach into the sacred past, select and develop politically useful (if sometimes obscure) traditions, and build them around a plan of action."" Using biography and interviews with followers of these leaders, the contributors to this volume paint riveting and insightful portraits of men like Shaykh Ahmad Yasin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, who, even though in prison, has led his followers against both Israel and the PLO. These essays, masterful works of contemporary religious history, give insight into the lives and times of these religious leaders. (Jan.)
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