I finished Islam Under Siege this weekend. It was an interesting read. I first heard Ahmed on NPR being interviewed about this book and thought it would be worth picking up because of his positive comments about Christian missionaries in Pakistan.
This book is a window into the “moderate” Muslim mind. I put the work moderate in quotes because even the moderate Muslim will seem to be extreme to the average American. BUT – we should understand them and listen closely to what they have to say.
Ahmed poses much of his argument (which I will outline below) around the theme of honor. He states that much of the Islamic world is concerned with honor and therefore we are wrong to ignore issues related to it. In my travels in the Muslim world, I would have to agree with this analysis. I also think those of us who are Christian can see that this is a worldview conflict with what Jesus taught: Jesus was not concerned with honor – in fact, he preached against the elevation of honor. The anecdotes that Ahmed uses to highlight the honor conflict are sometimes downright humorous to me, the American reader (this signals the great divide between “us and them” and is really a sad commentary on me). For example, he notes that Monica Lewinsky was Jewish and that the whole sordid affair between she and Clinton was part of a Jewish plot to destroy Clinton’s honor. Wow! Never considered that angle before…
Through a series of historic events in Pakistan, India, and the world, Ahmed presents his conflict as a moderating voice in the Muslim world. The reader is supposed to see that he is a victim of extremism on all sides and sympathize with him. The book really climaxes with an observation that intellectuals are sorely needed in the Muslim world but their voices are “shouted down” by more vociferous Islamic fundamentalists on one side, and anti-Muslim voices on the other.
This is a book highlights the reasons why Islam and globalism are on a collision course that cannot be avoided. I feel sorry for Ahmed as I read of the hassles he has put up with from his fellow Muslims. That leads me to ask the real question: “Why don’t you get out?”