Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey

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Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey

By V. S. Naipaul
Knopf, 1981
430 pp. $15.00
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This book is a triumph of style over substance. It is a sweeping look at. "Islamic fundamentalism" in four countries: Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia. The author's "method" is to converse with individual Muslims in the four countries-evidently on a random basis. There is no analysis of the countries' varied histories, cultures or socioeconomic circumstances and the different political roles taken by Islamic movements. Despite these weaknesses, however, the book is an eloquent, if oversimple, warning. Naipaul is probably correct in seeing Islamic fundamentalism as an ideological protest against many of the necessary evils of industrialization and modernization. What happened in Iran, therefore, while it almost certainly will not be repeated exactly, cannot be looked upon as a phenomenon with no implications for the rest of the Islamic world.

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