In this spiritual travelogue, novelist and essayist Naipaul picks up where he left off in his earlier Among the Believers (1981). Whereas in that earlier work he focused primarily on his own stories of his encounters with the revolutionary potential of Islam in Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia, here he allows individuals in those countries to tell their own stories about their experiences with the Islamic faith. Crucial to Naipaul's argument is what he sees as the imperialism of Islam. ""Everyone who is not an Arab who is a Muslim is a convert. Islam is not simply a matter of conscience or private belief. It makes imperial demands.... The disturbance for societies is immense, and even for a thousand years can remain unsolved."" In Iran, for example, a young teacher remembers with anguish and cool reflection giving up his university education to be a part of Khomeini's religious revolution, only later to be jailed and almost killed by the Revolutionary Guards for failing to give Khomeini unwavering support. Naipaul also recounts the story of an Indonesian leader who integrated Western technology with his Muslim faith in order to gain a lucrative job in the Suharto administration. Naipaul's luminous prose provides glimpses of insight into the lives of ordinary people whose dedication and commitment to the practice of Islam is the foundation of their lives. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998 Release date: 05/01/1998 Genre: Religion
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