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"The Islam Industry" and Scholarship: Review Article

The Future of Political Islam by Graham E. Fuller; Face to Face with Political Islam by
François Burgat; The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror by Bernard Lewis; What
Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response by Bernard Lewis; Islam
Unveiled: Disturbing Questions about the World's Fastest-Growing Faith by Robert Spencer;
Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West ...
Review by: As'ad AbuKhalil
Middle East Journal, Vol. 58, No. 1 (Winter, 2004), pp. 130-137
Published by: Middle East Institute
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xiii + 177 pages.202.as well as of a swarm MIDDLEEASTJOURNALVOLUME58. Index to p. 352. xix + 213 pages. and movies that deal with Islam and the Middle East. xvii + 185 pages. The Quest for the Historical Muhammad. Index to p. Chron. articles. Notes to p.Book Reviews "TheIslamIndustry" and Scholarship Review Article by As'ad AbuKhalil The Future of Political Islam. UK: Oxford University Press. $12. 2002. 536. by BernardLewis. and even tourists and travelershas overwhelmedthe market. Notes to p. and trans. $10. The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror. NY: PrometheusBooks.We now have an Islam industry. $24. by GrahamE. $23 cloth.Washington. New York:The ModernLibrary. Dramatic personaeto p.B. Face to Face with Political Islam. Text. to p. 2002. 227. 2002.95. This production is closely tied (through financing and through ideological affinity) with the prevalent trends about Islam in the United States. T he body of literatureon the subject of Islam by policy makers.a popular and political culture that encourages the productionof books.Amherst.New York:Palgrave. Islam Unveiled:Disturbing Questions about the World'sFastest-growingFaith. ed. 222. by Robert Spencer. Notes to p.New York:I. 214. 2003. $22. New York and Oxford. Tauris. Fuller. Table to p. Index to p. 216 pages. 782. $27.2003. by BernardLewis. $29. 534.journalists. $12. NO.to p. What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response. Notes to p.2003. 172.95 paper. 2000. Index to p. Notes to p. Index to p. Map.to p. What the Koran Really Says: Language.W. Index to p.95 paper.New York:W.95.by IbnWarraq. 2003. Abbrevs.95. xxxii + 165 pages. 180.50 paper.by Ibn Warraq.2003. $55 cloth. 744 pages. 230. Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West. 550. The Islam industryfeaturesthe works of Middle East and Islam experts at US universitieswho have revived the classical Orientalistapproach. Notes to p. $21 cloth. 546. Terror and Liberalism.NY: PrometheusBooks. CA: EncounterBooks.DC: Regnery. 161 pages. to p. 184. WINTER2004 .Norton.95 paper. xiii + 304 pages. 336. Gloss. and Commentary. $36. San Francisco. 526 pages. by FranqoisBurgat.95 cloth. by Robert Spencer. $29. 1. 545. $37. 171.Amherst. by Paul Berman. 220. Appends.

Scholarly works receive less attention. though the book could have been betterorganized so that themes and concepts do not overlap.most notablyBernardLewis.and the public seems eager to consume books and articlesthatcontainthe persistentdogmas and recycled cliches of classical Orientalism. althoughit is often treatedas a mere violent political force that shapes all facets of the lives of all Muslims. I'islamisme au Maghreb(Karthala. Sayyid Qutb. Fuller and Face to Face with Islam by FrancoisBurgatare. is judged in the West by the standardsof liberal democracies. The point is that people in the West do not use the same measuresor standardsof evaluationas people in the Middle East. The relative openness of the Iranian political system and the Iranianpress contrasts sharply with the closed nature of Saudi government and society. Given this disturbingtrend. regarding the extent to which Islam determinesthe behaviorof Muslims.1986). The Iranian regime.he possibly overstates his case when he asserts: "Islampervades the daily life of Islamic society and political culture more profoundly than any other single ideological or conceptual force (p. 78). or dominatestheir lives and thought. the reader is spared the frequently-told chronological accounts of Hasan al-Banna.the exceptions to the rule. Nevertheless.who used to work in the US intelligence community.or to underplaythe oppressivenessof Iran's rulers and their violation of human rights and exploitationof religion. Of course. and sometimes out of academicdebates as well. Fuller makes many sensible points that are often left out of US policy debates. refreshingly.for example. This is by no means intended to suggest that Iran is a democracy. the Iranianregime can be comparedquite favorablywith the Saudi government'soppressive rule. GrahamFuller. 98).Fuller writes a book with analytic categories and concepts. 14).Fuller succeeds in trying to refutethe notion that Islam is peculiar or exceptional as an activist religion. He also states that it is incorrectto "thinkof political Islam as a fixed ideology to be accepted or rejected as a whole [italics in original] (p. for example. especially Burgat. Thus. Both authorsreadand speakArabicandhave. and where (p. Furthermore.and is found to be clearly wanting and deficient.MIDDLEEAST JOURNAL* 131 of untrainednewcomers whose primaryqualificationsappearto be their ideological orientationsand religious zealotry. Fuller's discussion of "umma versus national identity" (pp. Yet. 19-23) is quite interesting.But TheFutureof Political Islam by Graham E. that Islamic fundamentalismconstitutes only "a thin wedge of the overall Islamic political spectrum(p. people do not dwell on the political role of Judaism in Israel. Fuller reminds the reader. had written an outstandingstudy of Islamic movements in North Africa.As Fuller observes. recent evidence from reliable public opinion surveys of Muslim countriesbelies the claims by some Westernscholars. and others. xii). As Fuller also rightly points out. has been warning about the consequences of US foreign policy for years. Islam itself is "nota political ideology but a religion" (p. for example. and shows that religion has intersected with political conflicts in many partsof the world (p.or of the productionof the terrorismindustry. it shows the fluidity and malleability of people's political foci of identification. Of the many interestingideas and insights in the book. and who have traveledto the region for decades. And while he takes into his analytic consideration various underlyingcauses for the rise and potency of Islamic fundamentalism. Yet. thereare . the evaluation of Islamic movements and governments varies depending on who is doing the evaluation. 45).September 11th has only increasedthe rate of production of sensationalworks that promise to reveal the true evil intentionsof Muslims and Islam. Both authorsare experienced scholars who are trainedin Middle East studies. and Francois Burgat. xi). one does not normally look forward to reviewing new books on Islam and Islamic fundamentalism. prior to having produced the book under review. interviewed scores of Islamic activities and leaders. although it is politically salient in a country where some one third of voters are OrthodoxJews who are influenced by their religious beliefs.

16).He puts a high premiumon the knowledge of the culture.which some Pashtunsnonethelessjudged as an ethnically representativegovernmentwhich had brought "security"to people's lives (p. The fanaticaland dictatorialTalibanregime. for example. But exoticism has always been a feature of some classical Orientalistliterature. is rightly seen as a horrificallymisogynist and oppressivegovernment.Burgatknows his subjectmatterexceedingly well. women in the Middle East. correctly. democracies had.religion.The prostituteor the princess is of more interest to the Westerneye than are the majorityof women in the region. That explains why Saudi Arabiahas gotten away with its humanrights violations for decades. which no one can .and not as a monolithic group that is helpless and eager for Westerntears of sympathy. On the subject of Islam and democracy.Burgatbegins by lamentingthe state of Western discourseon Islam and Islamic fundamentalists.thatpersonaldirect experience is essential as a basis for empirical research of the Islamic fundamentalist phenomenon. He analyzes the veil without falling into the outrightjudgmental hostility common in some Westernwriting."He identifies the tension between professional feminist-leaningwomen and the Islamic fundamentalistagenda (pp. or by. and still have. The evolution of FIS (FrontIslamiquedu Salut) in Algeria is an example on Burgat'sside. sharp. However. in their diversity. regardlesswhether one is a memberof the faith or whethershe/he is even religious at all. Even the most respectedmedia outlets in the United States are not as intelligent in their coverage as are mainstreamnewspapersin the United Kingdom and France. Burgat maintainsthat with Westernmedia. Burgathas a very interestingengagementwith Olivier Roy's thesis in his The Failure of Political Islam (HarvardUniversityPress. 161).The threemonotheistic religions have tremendousattachmentsto what they perceive as "divine"laws and some religious advocates wish to apply them in the whole of society. Burgat shows women of the Middle East as they are.Burgateven finds a benefit in personally meeting Islamic fundamentalist interlocutors and noticing their "physicalappearanceand style of dress [and] the tone of their voice and the framework within which they express themselves"(p. Burgat uses language that is more sweeping. Fuller is right in saying that "no religion is inherently 'compatible' with democracy"(p. 151). 115). But he believes that the dynamics of the struggle within the "Islamistmovement"is much more likely to provide answers to the problems posed by the relationship between Islamism and modernization. and stridentthan that of Fuller. 3). nor can he be accused of naivete or of subscribing to that emotional and uncritical school of Islamic apologetics that dominates much of Islamic studies in the Middle East. In fact. Armedwith his own research and familiarwith the availablescholarship. 145-47).the extremeconditions of sexism and misogyny in SaudiArabiaare often extrapolatedon the entire Middle East and the Islamic worlds.or for US-style "warsof liberation. to marginalize or to compartmentalize religion in orderto achieve fuller democraticsystems of government. Americanofficials seem always to pay closer attentionto humanrights violations in countriesthat are opposed to US policies. althoughone can easily note that the French and British media are superiorto Americanmedia when it comes to coverage of the Middle East. "exoticism is thus guaranteed"(p. 1994). and suggests thatperhapsit was Western methodology that may have failed. Burgat's chapter on women is a must read for anybody who has not been reading feminist literatureon. Burgatis quite critical of Westernmedia portrayalsof Islam.132 * MIDDLEEASTJOURNAL also Westernpolitical considerationsas well. although one can enter into a debate about sincerity and motives. and language of the region under study. Burgatinsists.than by the struggle between feminists and fundamentalists(p. Similarly. or coverage of foreign affairs in general. and that Islamism may in fact "evolve" (p. 121). than to violations committedby client regimes.

and documentationis unnecessary. to engage in one-upmanship. althoughthey might not get the media notoriety.as all forms of war and violence arejustified when directed against fascists and Nazis. RobertSpencer. cultures.this methodcan easily be turnedagainsthim.He concedes that Middle East governmentshave enjoyed almost unparalleledstability for at least three decades. Fuller and Burgathave thus given readersmuch to ponderand discuss. Bin Ladin and his fellow travelershave failed to inspire "themasses.However.Muslims take them seriously. Morocco). may even come from the American"left.those who want to employ endnotes in Arabic or Persianfor their"studies"of the Middle East and Islamcan now rely on daily supply of the media's favorite source on the region nowadays. 2003).all sources are treatedequally. the market is saturatedwith pseudo-authoritative works on political Islam and on the contemporaryMiddle East.And to the West. the Arab governments wish to characterizetheir Islamic fundamentalistdissidents (or even their seculardissidents) as fans of Usama Bin Ladin no matterwhat..or the attentionof the public or of governmentofficials that they deserve. and ministers who have no backgroundin Middle East or Islamic studies.. Spencer.who (like Berman)does not have any backgroundin Middle East or Islamic studies. Americaand the West 2. But those references to the phenomenonof "Islamic fascism"which mayhave been popularizedby formerleftistjournalistChristopherHitchens ignore a basic fact. Robert Spencer. not scholars.W. Burgatalso discusses the phenomenonof Islamismin the context of its dealings not only with the repressivestate. but also with the secularleftist opposition. this method merely encourages fanatics on all sides. Some membersof this group. as mentioned at the outset.who claims to have spent time uncovering the real origins of Islamic terrorism. The Future of Political Islam and Face to Face with Islam standas proof thatnot all books on the Middle East and Islam adhereto the paradigmsof the Islam industry.. 11. Yet. However. Spenceris very good at findingquotationsfromthe Qur'an or from obscureMuslim clerics to "prove"the dangerof Islam.."Theirrepeatedcalls for Jihadhave fallen on deaf Muslim ears.toleranceif not outrightsupportfor their oppression.who legalize some fundamentalists but only to underminethe powersof rivalIslamists(e.much like Berman.scholars.links Qutbwith Europeanfascism and Nazism. and religions.g. Burgatis also correctin pointing out the deceptive and manipulativemethods of Arab governments. Spencer states that "[w]hen modern Muslims like JaffarUmar Thalib [sic] and Usama Bin Ladin declareJihad.Norton.andto makehis story more palatableto Westernaudiences.as his anthology of Islam's statements. in the case of the Old Testament.thus stumbles across Sayyid Qutb. This facilitates Western. has now written two books on mattersIslamic."2 In the new world of the Islam industry. Paul Berman. Islamism has been incapable of providing solutions to the acute social and economic problemsfaced by Muslims in the Middle East.' Berman regardsSayyid Qutbas the real inspirationbehindMuslim terrorism.2003). MEMRI (Middle East Media 1. There are in the Old and New Testamentelements that are as disturbingandoffensive . journalists. p." the so-called "Arabstreet. but he does not see that as a result of the failure of the opposition as Yet. This link is of course politically convenient. Far from adding to our knowledge or promoting understanding between peoples.MIDDLEEASTJOURNAL* 133 decisively resolve.like Paul Berman. and who is active in right-wing Christiancauses.Terrorand Liberalism(New York:W. many of which have been written by "instantexperts" ."Berman. it is hardto disagree with Roy that much as it is the result of fierce authoritanianism.OnwardMuslimSoldiers:HowJihadStill Threatens (Washington.if not more.insists that Bin Ladinis an Islamic figure who inspiresthe masses. .DC: Regnery.Fine academicbooks written by trainedand knowledgeable experts are still being published.particularlyAmerican.

Islam and the West.134 * MIDDLEEASTJOURNAL Research Institute). 21. law. What WentWrong?and The Crisis of Islam. Lewis. See theinvestigative articleon MEMRIin Guardian. Bush. informs his audiences that jokes are permissibleas a source of public opinion orientationsbecause they are the "only authenticand uncensoredexpression of political opinion."The WallStreetJournal. people. Every Muslim. So enamoredis Lewis with thatarticle. 6. 141.BernardLewis. Lewis finds evidence of a universalIslamic bond. his learnedbook on the emergenceof modernTurkey). In writing about contemporaryIslam. none other than BernardLewis cited the authorityof "a young man in a shop where I went to make a purchase"5or a letter to the editorin the New YorkTimes. of course. Spencer. culture. for newspapers. incidentally. the Muslim mind never seems to change.Because 'Arafatembraced. 9."4In Islam and the West(1993). who has been accustomed to telling jokes about the Middle East. which are woefully devoid of researchand can be quite lacking in basic knowledge about the region. paradigm.1993). where he is thoroughand where his scholarshipis based on extensive researchand knowledge (e. 4. See BernardLewis.and his older books remainin print. August12. a quotationfrom an obscure medieval source is sufficient to explain present-daybehavior."7[In fact. public opinion surveys are conducted and published in many countriesof the region. 7.thatit also appearedin Islam and the West. Lewis. history. 134.g. 8. 5. which. Lewis even tracesAbu 'Ammar's(Yasir'Arafat's)own name to early Islamic historyand to the names of the ProphetMuhammad'scompanions. Indeed. But one finds a contrastbetween his historicalbooks. for years Lewis has been largely recycling his 1976 Commentaryarticle titled "The Return of Islam" ("return"from where?). Muslims are dominatedexclusively by Islam. 100.IslamandtheWest(NewYork:OxfordUniversityPress. He has visited the White House. which was founded by "retired"Israeli intelligence experts. September28. 2002.."9 The Islam of BernardLewis is an unchangingIslam.p. outlook.p. In present-daystudies of Islam. 3.AyatollahRuhollahKhomeini of Iranwhen he met him. were on the best seller lists simultaneously. When Lewis revised his book years later. p. regardlessof geographyor time. "Timefor Toppling:the argumentsagainst"regimechange"arebackward. geography.literally.and. Islam and the West.'In post-September11thAmerica. BernardLewis.p. one can easily cite as a source for research"a writeron a Muslim bulletin board.As is well known. texts (preferably.ancient religious texts). though he refuses to confirmhaving met with PresidentGeorge W. Thus. Lewis' recent books.went into a new printing after September 11th.p.3This repositoryof selective press items has become particularlyuseful for membersof congress duringhearings on the Middle East. Lewis was brought back from retirement to advise the US government.and his popularbooks on the ModernMiddle East. or any Muslim. is representative of any or all Muslims. 1973).2002.and for those newcomers to Middle East studies who seek "damagingquotes"aboutArabs/Muslims. he took note in passing of the deep rift that later developed between 'Arafatand Khomeini by saying simply that "laterthey partedcompany. 57. For Lewis."8He therebyresurrectsthe notion of an epistemological distinction between "our"mind and "theirs."as articulated by Raphael Patai in The Arab Mind (Charles Scribner. . In this piece. Lewis exhibits his adherenceto the most discreditedforms of classical Orientalist dogmas by invoking such terms as "themodernWesternmind.] Lewis deserves special attention.OnwardMuslimSoldiers.though 'Arafathimself had explained that his name derives from the root 'amr (a reference to 'Arafat'sconstructionactivities in Kuwaitpriorto his ascension within the Palestine Liberation Organization).accordingto Lewis. Islam is religion.

Methodologically. and its rules include civil.See the dispatchby Inter Press Service. in KananMakiya'swords. New York:OxfordUniversityPress.MIDDLEEAST JOURNAL* 135 He: "ForMuslims. he was one of those who assured the American governmentthat Iraqis (if not all Arabs) would welcome the war on theircountry.Lewis. Seethetextin http://www. 11. See Lewis. distinct from other compartmentswhich are the concern of nonreligious authorities administeringnonreligious laws.' as if this constitutesa serious demandor goal even for Muslim fundamentalist organizations. He is deeply convinced that Muslims are "pained"by the absence of the caliphate. 13. See BernardLewis. almostverbatim. One is astonishedto read some of Lewis' observationson Muslim and Arab sentiments and opinions. see http://www.In fact.p. p.None otherthanVice-PresidentRichard Cheney once answereda question in public by saying: "I've talked to BernardLewis about that very subject. The Crisis of Islam.'2His discussion about Napoleon in Egypt appearsin bothbooks."'6] The Crisis of Modern Islam reveals much about Lewis and the ideology of hostility that permeateshis work. "Licenseto Kill: Usamabin Ladin'sDeclarationof Jihad.IslamandtheWest. 17.'8instead of treatinghis subject as the criminalthat he is. In The Crisis of Islam. 19.he insists thatterrorismby individualMuslims should be consideredIslamic terrorism."1" The dangersof this view does not lie merely in its impact on college and public educationin the United States. so to speak. The Crisis of Islam: Holy Warand UnholyTerror(NewYork:TheModernLibrary. 14. but as a respected theologian.would joyously greetAmericantroops'5 welcome them with. xxxii. Lewis now has access to the highest circles of the US government. criminal."ForeignAffairs.One does not see crowds chantingfor the restorationof the caliphate.but all Arabs. and even what we would call constitutionallaw. It is ratherthe whole of life.March25.See New YorkTimes. Lewis' reply to this criticismis thatwhat is uniqueaboutMuslim terroristsis thatthey are the only ones who appropriatethe religious label for their actions. 2003.[Vice-PresidentCheneyrelied on the authorityof Fouad Ajami to assertthat not only Iraqis. WhatWentWrong:WesternImpactand Middle EasternResponse. The Crisis of Islam."'1 In Lewis' two best-sellingbooks. 12.p. 54.thatJewish settlers who operateagainst Palestiniansdo so in the name of religious conviction.defense. Lewis. Islam is not merely a system of belief and worship. a compartmentof life. Furthermore. Lewis. In other words. not as the fanatic that he is. 2003.gov/transcripts/2003/tr20030513-0182.2002). 39. xvii. anotherGhazzali.html.p.while terrorismby individualJews or Christiansis never consideredJewish or Christianterrorism. p. Forthe full text of Cheney'sspeech. Lewis relishes recountingthat syphilis was importedinto the Middle East from the new world. Lewis.'9Perhapshe is right if one is to ignore some facts: thatIsraeldefines itself as a Jewish state. p. and BernardLewis."'4Lewis was an enthusiasticchampionof the war on Iraq.newamericancentury. 31. the reader reads the same passages and anecdotestwice. 18. he takes his Islamic pronouncementstoo seriously.p. WhatWentWrong?and TheCrisis of Islam. that Christian 10. 15. 16.'3 The secondbook containscalls for (mostly military) action. where no studentof Middle East studies can escape Lewis' books.htm. . The Crisis of Islam. WhatWentWrong?. Makiyausedthose wordsin pressinterviewswithAmericanjournalists. 137. 2003). Lewis asserts: "the West must defend itself by whatevermeans.November30.org/iraq-082602. Makiyalaterconcededthathe was "wrong"in thatprediction. especially when he deals with contemporaryevents of the Arab world.Lewis treats Bin Ladin. November-December1998. See BernardLewis. "sweets and flowers. 4.

Lespenseurslibresdans l'Islamclassique:L'interrogation sur la religionchezlespenseursarabesindependents (Paris:AlbinMichel. See the articlein theAmericanProspect.136 * MIDDLEEASTJOURNAL fundamentalistswho have used violence against abortionclinics do so from a religious perspective. opposed to Zionism. 22.TheCrisisof Islam. he finds it necessary to tell yet again the story of HajjAmin Al-Husayni's visit to Nazi Germany. The Crisis of Islam. 94. Abu 'Isa Muhammad bin Harunbin Muhammadal-Warraq.he lists not one act of Israeli violence againstPalestinians).Abu 'Isa was a courageous freethinkerwho wrote refutationsof more than one religion. is a melange of Nazism and Soviet communism). 118.only the ones that are not directedagainstIsraeli soldiers .TheCrisisof Islam. 2001. 28. See DominiqueUrvoy.23Lewis is so insistentin attributing Arab popular antipathy to the United States to Nazi influence and inspiration that he actually maintainsthat Arabs obtained their hostility to the US from reading the likes of Otto Spengler.22 apparentlyseeking to stigmatize all Palestinians with that association. Lewis. like Lewis. Lewis. 2003. 59-60. or of ReverendJim Jones. pp. 148. 27.p. he.p. 24.2002).Though he lists acts of violence by PLO groups .yet he objects to Islam only and aligns himself with Christianfundamentalism. Ibn Warraqis on a mission to "expose" and attack the dangers of Islam.Perhapshe never heardof David Koresh. and Ibn Warraq(ed) Whatthe KoranReally Says (Amherst.28 The more rigid and biased the Orientalists. 69.27Ibn Warraq claims to subscribeto secularismand freethinking. leaderof the People's Temple.21 To discredit the Palestinian national movement. Lewis is free in his retirementnot even to disguise his hostility to Arabs and Muslims hostility thatat least some of his readershad suspectedfor years.March31.NY: Prometheus. For his efforts. in any religion and against all religions. 25. has Nazi components (in fact.But unlike the present-dayIbnWarraq. His is so disdainful of the Palestinians that he finds their opposition to Britain during the mandateperiod inexplicable because he believes thatBritainwas.and MartinHeidegger. Lewis. alas.20His disdain for the Palestinians is unmasked.24This is ratheramusing. should be encouraged although there is a difference between religious bigotry and enlightened freethinking. 23.But even the Ba'th Party.p.26Ibn Warraqprobably takes his name from the courageousfree thinkerin classical Islam. FreidrichGeorg Junger.25 The powerfulre-entranceof Lewis into the public arenaafter September11thhas only encouragedthe rejuvenationof classical Orientalism. There is no evidence that the Egyptianmasses have been known to devour Sein und Zeit (which. 26.NY: Prometheus. or of those Jewish terrorist organizations that are on the US State Department'slist of terroristorganizationsand states. that Arabs only understandthe language of force. . received an invitationto the White House to meet with high-rankingofficials.After all. Guyana in 1980.p. Lewis.leader of the BranchDavidians. says Lewis.Texas in 1993.does not contain anti-Americanism).December 17.1996).TheCrisisof Islam. incidentally. the Ba'th. Free thinking. Lewis. 82 of whom perishedin Waco. See Newsweek.who presidedover the mass suicide of his hundredsof his followers in Jonestown. using that dreadedcliche from Zionist and colonial history. 2002).The "political"careerof Ibn Warraq (a pseudonym for a former Muslim) is a good example. the better for Warraq.for Lewis.TheCrisisof Islam. he arguedto Dick Cheney before the war. 21. The latest two books by Ibn Warraqmerely collect old writingsby classical Orientalists. See Ibn Warraq(ed) The Questfor the Historical Muhammad(Amherst.which raises questions aboutthe truethrustof his mission.Warraqhimself has 20.

Berkeley. the general public. like W. 2003.as saying that "people in the Middle East don't always act rationally. Quotedin New YorkTimes. 30. we can expect to be sparedthose "liberationwars." As'ad AbuKhalilis Professor of Political science at CaliforniaState University. Quotedin New YorkTimes. 31. who advised the US occupationapparatusin Iraq.The chasm between the contoursof Westernpolicy debates on Islam and between the scholarlyproductionby expertson Islam and the Middle East is responsiblefor the accusationthat these experts are somewhatguilty not only of political errors. Stanislaus and VisitingProfessor at the Centerfor Middle Eastern Studies at UC. Watt. and even US officials would be far better served.Werethere many more works of Islam scholarship .Warraqrejects mainstreamOrientalists. See Ibn Warraq(ed) The Questfor the HistoricalMuhammad.more of the qualityof TheFutureof Political Islam and Face to Face with Islamand many fewer of the kind churned out by the Islam industry.forthcoming).November29."30 or that the same expert would express his opposition to elections and democracyin Iraqfor fear that "the wrong people could get elected.Wahhabiyyah.We need to extend the insights and conclusions of scholarly studies of Islam and the Middle East into the realm of Western political and popularcultures. He is the authormost recentlyof SaudiArabia.but in some cases. of ties to terrorism."29It is now acceptableto express such views in polite company. So is the remedy.' The perniciouseffects of the dominanceof the Islam industryover Islam scholarship are.specialists.He quotes Renan's famous Islam et la Science lecture approvingly:"Toliberate the Muslim from his religion is the best service that one can renderhim. And who knows? Maybe with betterknowledge.October7. or should be.This only places pressureson Westernacademics to toe the political lines of their governments.Noah Feldman. Even the US Congresshas inserteditself into the fray.and the US: The CrumblingHouse of Saud (New York:Seven Stories Press.would be quoted in the year 2003 -25 years after the first release of Orientalism.M.p. with some memberswantingto shape Middle East studies to adjust to the augmentedpowers of pro-Israeligroups and terrorismstudies. ratherthan to conform.And how frightfullydisturbingthata Middle East expert. Fuller and Burgat have chosen to inform. manifestly clear.such as Henri Lammens and Ernest Renan. he merely resuscitates the writings of those Orientalistswho have been long discredited. 2003. Thankfully. 19. 29.The horrific events of September 11th have increased the temptations to conform. . among other less discredited Orientalists.MIDDLEEAST JOURNAL* 137 nothing original to say on the subject.