Description: For a Western world anxious to understand Islam and, in particular, Shi’ism, this book arrives with urgently needed information and critical analysis. Hamid Dabashi exposes the soul of Shi’ism as a religion of protest—successful only when in a warring position, and losing its legitimacy when in power.
Dabashi makes his case through a detailed discussion of the Shi’i doctrinal foundations, a panoramic view of its historical unfolding, a varied investigation into its visual and performing arts, and finally a focus on the three major sites of its contemporary contestations: Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. In these states, Shi’ism seems to have ceased to be a sect within the larger context of Islam and has instead emerged to claim global political attention. Here we see Shi’ism in its combative mode—reminiscent of its traumatic birth in early Islamic history. Hezbollah in Lebanon claims Shi’ism, as do the militant insurgents in Iraq, the ruling Ayatollahs in Iran, and the masses of youthful demonstrators rebelling against their reign. All declare their active loyalties to a religion of protest that has defined them and their ancestry for almost fourteen hundred years.
Shi’sm: A Religion of Protest attends to the explosive conflicts in the Middle East with an abiding attention to historical facts, cultural forces, religious convictions, literary and artistic nuances, and metaphysical details. This timely book offers readers a bravely intelligent history of a world religion.
Description: Islam, Muslims and America gives a sound introduction to the history of Islam’s experiences with the West, and the principles of Islamic teachings; and in that context identifies and discusses the reasons for Muslim-West alienation. It highlights both the disconnect between true Islamic beliefs and extremist actions, and the failure of Americans to seek the root causes of the current anti-American trend.
Description: For thousands of years, Palestine and the East Mediterranean have been subject to constant colonial interference which has denied the indigenous population an independent, authentic historical narrative. Basem L. Ra’ad uncovers this history and begins the process of reconnecting it to contemporary peoples. Perceptions of the region have been influenced by the operation of “Western civilization” and by many other inherited cultural-religious preconceptions. The region itself has been disenfranchised and prevented from developing its own comprehensive cultural history. Ra’ad’s findings are an important step towards reconstructing an alternative history, one which dispels many of the myths and traps relating to religions, languages, peoples and sites. This highly original work is an essential text for students of Middle Eastern history, politics and culture.
Description: This book presents a historical study of the phenomenon of Holy Land tourism among American Protestants during the second half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. During this period, overseas travel was newly available to the Protestant middle class due to the invention and steady popularization of steamship travel. Protestants “at home” in America consumed vast quantities of printed literature via the popular medium of Holy Land pilgrimage narratives. A new mental geography resulted, in which Americans forged a fresh awareness of the Middle East and began to focus millennial hopes upon the political and social concept of a Jewish remnant of the last days in a Protestant theological and historical framework. Protestant support for Zionism was born.
What surfaces from the study of hundreds of pilgrimage narratives from this period is the emergence of Palestine as an iconic place for American Protestants. Through pilgrimage narratives, American Protestant’s understanding of Palestinians, biblical authority, the power of the Protestant press, the historicity of the Christian faith, an millennial expectations were formed as the meaning of the Holy Land was constructed. Findings from the pilgrimage narratives also indicate the importance of Palestine among Protestants as a “fifth gospel written in stone.” The pilgrim’s eastward gaze drew a distant biblical past into sharper focus and fueled the fires of premillenialism, a movement that would leave an enduring stamp upon American religion and politics.