In This Review

Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam
Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam
By John L. Esposito
Oxford University Press, 2002, 196 pp

In four short chapters, Esposito sketches the activities and influence of Osama bin Laden, surveys the doctrines and practice of jihad throughout history, presents the major Islamist groups worldwide, and concludes by asking, "Where do we go from here?" This feat is a tall order for a little book, and Esposito manages it well. Islam, like other religions, has had its radical movements. Jihad means not just warfare but also a nonmartial individual effort to live a holy life. These radical movements throughout the Muslim world are resisting authoritarian states, which are seen as buttressed by an oppressive West. Esposito's policy recommendations include pushing for democratization in the Muslim world and working with moderates in those states. He chooses as his representative "Voices of Reform and Dialogue" President Muhammad Khatami of Iran, former President Abdurrahman Wahid of Indonesia, and Malaysia's former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. Alas, the first seems to win nothing but elections, the second has been forced from office, and the third is in jail.