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The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity
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The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  794 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The aerial attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, a global spectacle of unprecedented dimensions, generated an enormous volume of commentary. The inviolability of the American mainland, breached for the first time since 1812, led to extravagant proclamations by the pundits. It was a new world-historical turning point. The 21st century, once greeted triumphantl ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published April 17th 2003 by Verso (first published 2002)
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3.77  · 
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 ·  794 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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dave eck
Mar 20, 2007 rated it liked it
It doesn't get much harder than writing about present-day politics, a difficulty that Tariq Ali doesn't fully overcome. This is the most in-depth book I have read about Islamic fundamentalism and its relation to terrorism and American imperialism.

Ali puts Marxist theory to work in understanding the landscape of today's world politics. American, Western European, and Arab public would be well-served by understanding Ali's conception of American imperialism within the context of neo-colonialism g
Kaelan Ratcliffe▪Κάϊλαν Ράτκλιφ▪كايِلان راتكِليف
Islam and the West

This is an excellent book and my first outing with Tariq Ali. Despite a much needed update from its 2003 release, I found myself receiving a serious education on the history of India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. This is not to mention an excellent summary of Islam at the beginning, followed by a cultural essay on America foreign policy in the Middle East. It puts into context the sheer magnitude of western ignorance of these complex areas of
Jun 05, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those seeking to dislodge Huntington
Tariq Ali is a prominent leftist intellectual in Britain who is originally from Pakistan. His book, “The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity” serves as a strong counter to the dominant scholarly understandings of the conflict between Islam and the West and of world history in general. He seeks to explain the historical roots of the attack on September 11th, as well as provide a background to India-Pakistan relations, the Arab-Israeli conflict and additional topics that relat ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Tariq Ali is a leftist of long standing, a Pakistani and an atheist. In this book with a wonderful cover depicting G.W. Bush as a Muslim with a beard, Ali claims quite plausibly that the American capitalist empire is driven by a kind of fundamentalism that lies behind the others that have reacted to it and that all of them share in the use of terror.

Starting with an account of his upbringing in a westernized enclave in Pakistan, Ali makes use of his intimate acquaintance with Islam, his involvem
Andy Taylor
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
An excellent dissection of the history of Islam and its collision with Western Imperialism, providing direly needed context to the extremism and terrorism plaguing the world today. After reading this book there is no further need to ask "why" with regards to these attacks, because the historical context makes them self-evident. Instead, the reader is left able to focus on how such things might be prevented in future.

Unfortunately the book becomes somewhat mired in specifics throughout the second
Jennifer (JC-S)
Nov 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybooks
I picked this book up in order to try to understand a little more about the views of the author behind 'The Islam Qintet'. While my primary regional interest is South Asia, I'm interested in what Ali has to say about 'fundamentalisms' more generally.

I'd highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in understanding some of the historical factos behind the increase in fundamentalism. I don't agree with all of Ali's views, but I consider that I am better informed for having read them.

A ful
D Scullion
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Amazing book and easy to read. Tariq Ali is spot on in everything he says.
Bruce Dayman
Aug 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The author gives an in depth history of Islam from its inception to 9/11. He calls US imperialism "the mother of all fundamentalisms". The war in Iraq and what the US and GB did, killing half a million people provides a good indication. However, he doesn't give Islam a break either, showing how fractured it is from within and how the lack of democracy in favour of theocracy by clerics creates a backward culture. I think the book provides a better balance than others. The author critiques Hunting ...more
Sami Eerola
May 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Fun to read, but Lack of references was frustrating
Marijan Medved
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Would've given it 4/5 if I didn't find the lack of references disturbing. Book can get a bit pathetic at times. However, the philosophy is sound and interesting.
Issa Hijazeen
A good book with good information about historical developments that took place in the region. I think it is designed to make westerns more familiar with the history of Islamic empire, but for people who live in the MENA region they already know these things, also some fundamentalists may find it offensive to Islamic religion
Apr 10, 2013 rated it liked it
"People must broaden their understanding and accept the fact that politics, not political parties, is tied in with anything and everything that is related to power. As long as man is a social animal, he will participate in political activity." So speaks Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, in an excerpt from an interview in Tariq Ali's 2003 book 'The Clash of Fundamentalisms'. It beholds us to understand that in which we are politically engaged, whether it is the neo-liberal empire that ha ...more
Rose Cecilia
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
There is a lot of important information in this book, but you have to dig through long-winded histories and unnecessary tangents, to find it. Tariq Ali doesn’t seem to have figured out what he wanted it to be about until the last 100 pages or so (I recommend saving yourself some time and just reading “Part IV: A Clash of Fundamentalisms”). This book lacks a clear focus and information is heavily under-cited (major pet peeve of mine): The first section provides a secular, and at times condescendi ...more
James F
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Background on the political situation in the Islamic majority countries, and the role the Western nations (first Britain and France, and today the United States) have played in bringing it about. The book begins with a brief history of Islam from the time of Mohammed to the First World War, then deals with the individual countries from that time through World War II, the founding of Israel and the partition of India and Pakistan, up to September 11 and the US invasion of Afghanistan. It was writ ...more
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tariq Ali puts forth a history of Islamic fundamentalism through the emergence of Wahhabism (Saudi Arabia state religion, once Afghanistan) from its inspirer Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab in the 18th century under Ottoman rule, through the present In between Ali sandwiches a discussion of Islamic heresy, including the Islamic world's most prominent medieval intellectuals What more he also takes on American imperialism as another form of religious fundamentalism, with its history of domination, manip ...more
Shaun Appleby
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
A very interesting perspective on the post-war history of South Asia, primarily Pakistan, juxtaposed with Western foreign policy and attitudes. While clearly polemic the strength of the book is its lively historical narrative contrasted with the conventional wisdom of Western punditry. This is a worthwhile journey, however, and the author is equally balanced in his disdain for the leadership and motives of all concerned, with a few significant exceptions. He also attempts to provide an understan ...more
Alexandra Marley
Dec 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
The content and general message deserve 5 stars however Ali's tangential style detracts from what could have been a very pithy critique. Ali's arguments are passionate and he happily exposes events and statistics that the American and Israeli governments have spent monumental amounts of resources on censoring, all of which combine to create not only a sense of outrage at the injustices but also a sense of smugness at having had the wool removed from over our eyes in regards to the Arab-Israeli c ...more
Naman Rawat
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have always been an admirer of Tariq Ali's work so the review might be a little biased. The book is very detailed he covers many different topics from Islamic history to American interventions in different parts of the world. The book is not very well organised and often feels like Ali could have worked on structuring it better. It is still very informative and even though it was written in 2003 it still fits perfectly well in the current political climate climate. Tariq Ali's writing style is ...more
Jan 12, 2009 rated it liked it
An interesting book, conceptually, but hamstrung by poor timelines and a polemical tone which undercut the author's message. A better chronology would have served him well, and a more balanced discussion throughout. Still the message is quite strong, which is to say that the "fundamentalisms" on both sides feed each other, allowing the margins to dictate how the rest of us live our lives. Not sure how all the Marxist analysis he does is relevant in this post-Marxist world, but overall cogent and ...more
Eric Kaun
Apr 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Mostly interesting, especially the historical narrative, but gets bogged down in its own language, which is sometimes poetic and elegant but sometimes just oblique.

Ali's book contains much vivid detail, but while the flow of his discourse is vividly literary, his sentences somehow fail to explain clearly. Many passages left me scratching my head. He does succeeded in nicely deconstructing Middle Eastern and Western fundamentalisms, but it would have been nice to see more constructed in its wake
Kamil Salamah
Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
A very educational book to learn about a part of history and the world and its profound impact on what is happening today. Pakistan is an essential and core state to world peace if the great power of the world( the United States of America)can rapidly understand how Islam needs to be understood by all.
Jul 18, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fortherabbitcage
While critical of Huntington and Fukuyama, Ali falls into the same trap, supporting his worldview at the expense of historical accuracy. His darting approach to history reads more like a string of easy applause lines for those predisposed to stick their thumbs at 'the west'. Even as one of those folks, I found it tiresome.

For a more insightful approach, try The Last Great Revolution
I don't recall the specific arguments very well, except that they are consistent with the arguments of the far left at the time it was published. Some indication that the US was responsible for the assassination of Indira Gandhi, though the argument is deductive rather than inductive.

Text is most memorable for its original tasteful cover of Bush the Younger in Taliban gear.
May 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Marty had me read this book. It was hard to get through but it was thought provoking. The end is the most interesting. The first half is history on the Middle East and the different view for Isreal, Palestine, Pakistan, Egypt, etc. The second half was more on how the Middle East views America and why.
Jul 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
An great work that gives insights into hardline idealogues of neo-conservatives and politiical Islam. Both movements are humourless, dogmatic, see the worldview in black and white, with us or against us mentality. MUST book.
Sanjay Casula
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
a series of books which were publihed in flurry after 9/11 by persons who wanted to explain Islam to the than bewildered westerner
this book makes a mess of it tariq ali indulges in a nostalgia for a golden age of Islam in Andaluss spain and that sometimes makes him sound a racist
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A very wellwritten book, I met Tarik Alik some years ago in a conference in Stockholm and was impressed by his deep knowledge about the conflicts in the Middle East. Besides Chomsky and Juan Cole he is one of the voices I listen on these topic.
Erdoan A.
Oct 19, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
A very bad book. personal opinions of a atheist about Islam. no academical value and very scattered
Jun 27, 2007 is currently reading it
ho hum.
Dec 07, 2014 added it
Very good source of historical and seasoned analysis of the contemporary world issues
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Tariq Ali (Punjabi, Urdu: طارق علی) (born 21 October 1943) is a British-Pakistani historian, novelist, filmmaker, political campaigner, and commentator. He is a member of the editorial committee of the New Left Review and Sin Permiso, and regularly contributes to The Guardian, CounterPunch, and the London Review of Books.

He is the author of several books, including Can Pakistan Survive? The Death
Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan were self-proclaimed atheists.” 1 likes
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