Patrick McCoy's Reviews > Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples
Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples
by V.S. Naipaul
by V.S. Naipaul
I felt compelled to follow up reading V.S. Naipaul's Beyond Belief soon after reading Among the Believers. so as have a sense of continuity. In this book, he re-vists the four converted Islamic countries (Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia) that he went to 14 years prior and tracks down some of the previous people he had interviewed before, as well as some new subjects. It seems as though he came away with a more negative impression than before, but perhaps I am mistaken. People in Iran are ruled by fear, the young generation seems to be rebelling against the repressive society. But it seems that the ruling elite are still in control in light of the recent election of a hardliner as Prime Minister. In places like Indonesia and Malaysia-Islamic influences do not mesh easily with the former animistic beliefs of the people who have essentially been colonized by a foreign "arabic" culture through Islam. Time and time again he emphasizes how the polygamy of the religion has traumatized countless families and made so many abandoned families miserable. He also emphasizes how this religion mistreats women who are discouraged from having any sort of independent life and regaled to the back rooms of the house to cook, clean, and raise the children while being discouraged to get any education. In Pakistan he looks at how Islamic justice is meted out by mutilation of women, honor killings, and the like. He discusses how impoverished people who have little are more strongly tied to honor and respect since there is little else in their lives. All this is recorded in great detail in a highly readable and engaging narrative. I'm looking forward to reading more of Naipaul's nonfiction.
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