European and Arab versions of the Crusades have little in common. For Arabs, the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were years of strenuous efforts to repel a brutal and destructive invasion by barbarian hordes. Under Saladin, an unstoppable Muslim army inspired by prophets and poets finally succeeded in destroying the most powerful Crusader kingdoms. The memory of this greatest and most enduring victory ever won by a non-European society against the West still lives in the minds of millions of Arabs today. Amin Maalouf has sifted through the works of a score of contemporary Arab chroniclers of the Crusades, eyewitnesses and often participants in the events. He retells their stories in their own vivacious style, giving us a vivid portrait of a society rent by internal conflicts and shaken by a traumatic encounter with an alien culture. He retraces two critical centuries of Middle Eastern history, and offers fascinating insights into some of the forces that shape Arab and Islamic consciousness today. 'Well-researched and highly readable.' Guardian 'A useful and important analysis adding much to existing western histories ... worth recommending to George Bush.' London Review of Books 'Maalouf tells an inspiring story ... very readable ... warmly recommended.' Times Literary Supplement 'A wide readership should enjoy this vivid narrative of stirring events.' The Bookseller 'Very well done indeed ... Should be put in the hands of anyone who asks what lies behind the Middle East's present conflicts.' Middle East International
the crusades through arab eyes
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The recapture of Jerusalem, the siege of acre, the fall of Tripoli, the effect in Baghdad of events in Syria; these and other happenings were faithfully recorded by Arab historians during the two centuries of the Crusades. First published in English in 1969, this book presents 'the other side' of the Holy War, offering the first English translation of contemporary Arab accounts of the fighting between Muslim and Christian. Extracts are drawn from seventeen different authors encompassing a multitude of sources: The general histories of the Muslim world, The chronicles of cities, regions and their dynasties Contemporary biographies and records of famous deeds. Overall, this book gives a sweeping and stimulating view of the Crusades seen through Arab eyes.
and Malta. From the first non-European description of Queen Elizabeth I to early accounts of Florence and Pisa in Arabic, from Tunisian descriptions of the Morisco expulsion in 1609 to the letters of a Moroccan Armenian ambassador in London, the translations of the book's second half draw on the popular and elite sources that were available to Arabs in the early modern period." "Matar notes that the Arabs of the Maghrib and the Mashriq were eager to engage Christendom, despite wars and rivalries, and hoped to establish routes of trade and alliances through treaties and royal marriages. However, the rise of an intolerant and exclusionary Christianity and the explosion of European military technology brought these advances to an end. In conclusion, Matar details the decline of Arab-Islamic power and the rise of Britain and France." --Book Jacket.
"An easily accessible account of the development of martyrdom ...Barlow presents a masterful account of how religion, death and sacrifice developed into the cult of martyrdom of today." Mia Bloom, University of Georgia and author of Dying to Kill: The Allure of Suicide Terror "Thoroughly researched, yet full of novel-like gripping narratives, this book succeeds in giving the reader a glimpse of what might happen in the mind of candidates to "martyrdom" while never loosing sight of the overall context that brings this phenomenon into being, and fuels it." Gilbert Achcar, author of The Clash of Barbarisms "Hugh Barlow is a gifted writer. In this book he uses his skills as a renowned sociologist to bring the reader a refreshing and engaging analysis...This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in understanding martyrdom operations from a broad historical and cultural perspective." Ami Pedahzur, University of Texas at Austin Dead for Good vividly describes how history gave rise to the suicide bombers of today. The passionate submission of ancient Jewish and Christian martyrs was largely supplanted by militant self-sacrifice as Islam spread and holy war erupted in the Crusades. In the Indian Punjab, the Khalsa Sikhs made warrior-martyrdom an instinct and policy in their defense of community and of justice. In a last-ditch effort to defeat the Allies in World War II, the Japanese transformed warrior-martyrs into martyr-warriors trained to sacrifice themselves in attacks on enemy carriers. The current suicide bomber is the latest phase: Whether motivated by nationalism, religious ideology, or a combination of both, the new "predatory" martyr dies for the cause while killing indiscriminately. Exploring martyrdom across cultures and throughout history, this book gives us new insights into today's suicide bombers and answers the common question "Why do they do it?"
In 1099, the city of Jerusalem, a possession of the Islamic Caliphate for over four-hundred years, fell to an army of European knights intent on restoring the Cross to the Holy Lands. From the ranks of these holy warriors emerged an order of monks trained in both scripture and the military arts, an order that would protect and administer Christendom's prized conquest for almost a century: the Knights of the Temple of Solomon, or the Templars. In this articulate and engaging history, Piers Paul Read explores the rise, the catastrophic fall, and the far-reaching legacy of these knights who took, and briefly held, the most bitterly contested citadel in the monotheistic West. Drawing on the most recent scholarship, and writing with authority and candor, Read chronicles the history of the blood-splattered monks who still infiltrate modernity in literature, as the inspiration for secret societies, and in the backyard fantasies of any child with access to a stick and a garbage can lid. More than armed holy men, the Templars also represented the first uniformed standing army in the Western world. Sustaining their military order required vast sums of money, and, to that end, a powerful multinational corporation formed. The prosperity that European financiers enjoyed, from the efficient management of Levantine possessions and from pioneering developments in the field of international banking, would help jump-start Europe's long-slumbering Dark Age economy. In 1307, the French king, Philip IV, expropriated Templar lands, unleashing a wave of repression that would crest five years later. After Templar leaders broke down and confessed, under torture, to blasphemy, heresy, and sodomy, Pope Clement V suppressed the Order in 1312. Was it guilty as charged? And what relevance has the story to our own times? In this remarkable history, Piers Paul Read explores the Crusades and the individual biographies of the many colorful characters that fought them.
Oil is the lifeblood of modern economics. It is the precious resource at the heart of empire-building---from the British empire to the American empire today. It underpins the world's financial markets. But seventy per cent of the world's oil supplies lie under the sands of the Middle East. Did the United States invade Iraq to grab Iraq's oil? Many people think so. This book shows how this is part of a wider U.S. attempt to dominate international oil and maintain America's global dominance. Written by an influential oil consultant with experience of working in both the U.S. and Arab oil industries, this book provides a rare insight into the real motivations behind U.S. intervention in the Arab world and the relationship between the United States and the Arab states. Abdulhay Yahya Zalloum provides a historical account of the roots of today's involvement, analyzing U.S. intervention in the Arab world since the nineteenth century. Zalloum provides an account of America's changing role in OPEC. He examines the fate of Iraq's oil and the involvement of U.S. contractors. He also analyzes the role of oil in America's relationship with Israel, providing an important insight into how this dynamic is viewed in the Arab world. The book offers a unique perspective on how the United States is viewed in the Arab region and how progress should be made if real peace and stability are to be brokered.
Despite the West's growing involvement in Muslim societies, conflicts, and cultures, its inability to understand or analyze the Islamic world threatens any prospect for East–West rapprochement. Impelled by one thousand years of anti-Muslim ideas and images, the West has failed to engage in any meaningful or productive way with the world of Islam. Formulated in the medieval halls of the Roman Curia and courts of the European Crusaders and perfected in the newsrooms of Fox News and CNN, this anti-Islamic discourse determines what can and cannot be said about Muslims and their religion, trapping the West in a dangerous, dead-end politics that it cannot afford. In Islam Through Western Eyes, Jonathan Lyons unpacks Western habits of thinking and writing about Islam, conducting a careful analysis of the West's grand totalizing narrative across one thousand years of history. He observes the discourse's corrosive effects on the social sciences, including sociology, politics, philosophy, theology, international relations, security studies, and human rights scholarship. He follows its influence on research, speeches, political strategy, and government policy, preventing the West from responding effectively to its most significant twenty-first-century challenges: the rise of Islamic power, the emergence of religious violence, and the growing tension between established social values and multicultural rights among Muslim immigrant populations. Through the intellectual "archaeology" of Michel Foucault, Lyons reveals the workings of this discourse and its underlying impact on our social, intellectual, and political lives. He then addresses issues of deep concern to Western readers—Islam and modernity, Islam and violence, and Islam and women—and proposes new ways of thinking about the Western relationship to the Islamic world.
The notion of identity - personal, religious, ethnic or national - is one that has given rise to heated passions and crimes throughout the history of mankind. What it is that makes each one of us unique and dissimilar to any other individual has been one of the fundamental questions of philosophy from Socrates to Freud. In this important series of reflections, the author, a Lebanese who now lives in France, where he is a well-known writer and commentator, considers how we define ourselves and how identity is understood in the world's different cultures.
There are ninety-nine names for God in the Koran, is it possible that there is a secret one-hundredth name? In this tale of magic and mystery, of love and danger, Balthasar's ultimate quest is to find the secret that could save the world. Before the dawn of the apocalyptic 'Year of the Beast' in 1666, Balthasar Embriaco, a Genoese Levantine merchant, sets out on an adventure that will take him across the breadth of the civilised world, from Constantinople, through the Mediterranean, to London shortly before the Great Fire. Balthasar's urgent quest is to track down a copy of one of the rarest and most coveted books ever printed, a volume called 'The Hundredth Name', its contents are thought to be of vital importance to the future of the world. There are ninety-nine names for God in the Koran, and merely to know this most secret hundredth name will, Balthasar believes, ensure his salvation.
Mecca is the heart of Islam. It is the birthplace of Muhammad, the direction towards which Muslims turn when they pray and the site of pilgrimage which annually draws some three million Muslims from all corners of the world. Yet Mecca's importance goes beyond religion. What happens in Mecca and how Muslims think about the political and cultural history of Mecca has had and continues to have a profound influence on world events to this day. In this captivating book, Ziauddin Sardar unravels the significance of Mecca. Tracing its history, from its origins as a 'barren valley' in the desert to its evolution as a trading town and sudden emergence as the religious centre of a world empire, Sardar examines the religious struggles and rebellions in Mecca that have powerfully shaped Muslim culture. Interweaving stories of his own pilgrimages to Mecca with those of others, Sardar offers a unique insight into not just the spiritual aspects of Mecca – the passion, ecstasy and longing it evokes – but also the conflict between heritage and modernity that has characterised its history. He unpeels the physical, social and cultural dimensions that have helped transform the city and also, though accounts of such Orientalist travellers as Richard Burton and Charles Doughty, the strange fascination that Mecca has long inspired in the Western imagination. And, ultimately, he explores what this tension could mean for Mecca's future. An illuminative, lyrical and witty blend of history, reportage and memoir, this outstanding book reflects all that is profound, enlightening and curious about one of the most important religious sites in the world.