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Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization
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Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,409 Ratings  ·  171 Reviews
The wars in the Middle East have become religious wars in which God is believed to be directly engaged on behalf of one side against the other. The hijackers who attacked America on September 11, 2001, thought they were fighting in the name of God. According to award-winning writer and scholar of religions Reza Aslan, the United States, by infusing the War on Terror with i ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Random House (first published 2009)
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Hannah Brandeis
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I went to get a quick cup of coffee with the intention of reading the first chapter of this book while I was drinking. Two and a half hours later, the book was finished and my coffee wasn't. How to Win a Cosmic War is an eloquent, informative, and captivating read.
Oct 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aslan, an American citizen who is an Iranian by nationality, begins his book with a historical overview and an exploration of definitions, eg Jihadism vs Islamism, that show how loosely and inaccurately terms are bandied about in the media and most political discussions. He traces the processes of nationalism and globalization, showing their influences on political and religious movement and alignments over the past century and a half. And many of his observations can be usefully applied, eg, to ...more
Ana Rînceanu
This book explains how extremists think and how they affect the world (Extremist = a person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent, or other extreme action.) Evangelicals, jihadists, you name it, Aslan takes them on and explains their role in the post 9/11 middle-east conflict.

This book may shock you if you think of extremists as irrational, evil beings and it may surprise you just how much social justice and extremism have in common.
I was really unimpressed by this book. I'm unsure of what the author was trying to say. It's not just that he didn't answer his questions as that he never really posed questions to start with. On top of that he would start to pose interesting and inflammatory questions and then step back, leaving them on their own. It was like throwing firecrackers around as if they were chicken feed, unwilling to actually place them somewhere that can be useful. He also made a lot of sweeping historical general ...more
May 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although principally billed as an analysis and commentary on the so-called 'War on Terror' (ie - against Islamic Jihadists), the book is actually a wider discussion on religion, identity and violence. Perhaps the concept that bests summarizes his thoughts is that of al-wala' wal-bara', which would roughly translate to "faith and infidelity"; a "us vs. them" paradigm. A battle between those who share the same beliefs, and those who do not. This is not purely a Islam and Christianity treatise, bu ...more
Aug 08, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aslan has a wonderful ability to take a complicated subject that is so commonly misunderstood and misrepresented in present day media, and break it down to its more coherent pieces, while maintaining its integrity and providing thoughtful analysis. Aslan frames the current "Cosmic War" between Islam and the West within the context of today's failed War on Terror and a modern day version of the Christian crusades.

His writing is remarkably easy to follow and written with a contemporary understand
Daniel Solera
This was one fantastic read. I had a recent conversation with a close friend, where we talked about the modern-day dangers of religion, and how some of the harshest critics frame the issue unfairly. They choose to single-out religion as the main cause of terrorist acts such as 9/11, instead of looking at the situation from a sociopolitical standpoint. Granted, religion was involved, but it many other elements were at play.

Aslan's book takes this approach in attempts to rationalize the intent of
I don't agree with most of what he says about how Radical Islam is in the World. I also think Mohammed who was poor and saw they Jew and Christians at the time prosperous in his land. So he was actually quite a smart man he saw what they had done and how structured they were and how it benefited them and made them prosperous. So he did the same thing he was God inspired and started a movement to make his people prosperous and an economic powerhouse. I also disagree with him on Christianity thoug ...more
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A facetious reviewer might subtitle this book "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Islamism." I won't, because I'm not sure whether even a panel of experts on the book's subject could agree on how many stars to give it. In its favor, the book is a short, easy-to-read 173 pages asserting first a difference between Islamism and Jihadism and looking at a history of religious-inspired social movements from Masada to the present (not in that order).

Aslan devotes key parts of his analysis to the m
Glen Stott
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, religion
Aslan describes the current state of terrorism as a Cosmic War. There are two sides; those with God and those with Satan. A Cosmic War cannot be won or lost. The only measure of success is killing the "others," Kafirs in Islam. There is no differentiation between men, women, and children Kafirs; they must all be killed; they are all part of Satan’s army. In this book, Aslan examines the history of religious fundamentalism, first in Jewish history, then Christian, and finally Islam. Historically, ...more
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Dr. Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is author most recently of Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.

He is the founder of, an online journal for news and entertainment about the Middle East and the world, and co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of BoomGen Studios, the premier entertainment brand for creative content from and abou

More about Reza Aslan...
“no religion is inherently violent or peaceful; people are violent or peaceful.” 4 likes
“the famed French theorist Ernest Renan, who years ago defined the nation as “a group of people united in a mistaken view about the past and a hatred of their neighbors.” 1 likes
More quotes…