Reply To: middle east class


This guy’s work is pretty good; he studied Islam as an “outsider” by first becoming an “insider” of sorts, and then reading all the major works that Islamic scholars (of all stripes, not just the Salafists) base their reasoning on. He critiques Islam (which is distinct from critiquing Moslems-as-people).

Also, to touch on one of my own hobbyhorses: I recommend books like Zoe Oldenbourg’s The Crusades, one of the better pre-PCera histories, one that doesn’t whitewash things but also does not present the Islamic world as an innocent victim of aggression (the usual tack taken now, at least by general academics), and any book by Steven Runciman on either the Crusades or Byzantium. Indeed reading almost any good history of Byzantium will quickly and thoroughly disabuse one of the notion that Islam is “a religion of peace” that wanted/wants only friendly relations with “people of the book,” and the idea that the West (formerly known as “Christendom”) only has problems with the people of the Middle East now because of “backlash” against what “we did to them” (an inane simplification one often hears even from otherwise sound libertarian types; plausible because there is certainly an element of that, but one that treats “The Other” as mere automatons who only respond to whatever stimuli we input into them. Other people are actors too, and can be quite aggressive for reasons of their own).