View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bernard Lewis on the Crisis of Islam

In a Time magazine Q & A Bernard Lewis discusses his new book, Islam: The Religion and the People. Here are some snippets of the interview:

Importance of Islam Today
“One [point] is the importance of Islam at the present time, which is about a billion and a third people, but it's not because of the numbers only but more because of its role at the present time, its situation in Europe, Africa, Israel and increasingly America, and the mood in which the Islamic world finds itself at the present time. I think it's very important that we should understand it….”

Difficulties in Understanding Islam
“There are considerable difficulties in understanding Islam because of two false images, which are widespread. On the one hand we have the image of Muslims as barbarians, the traditional image of a Saracen riding out of the desert on horseback with a sword in one hand and a Koran in the other offering their victims a choice between the two. On the other hand we have Islam as a religion of love and peace, like the Quakers but without their aggressiveness. Both of these are, of course, nonsense. Both are wildly exaggerated, and the truth is in its usual place somewhere between the two.”

The full interview and details of the book from this prominent observer of Islam is at this link:

Bobby Ghosh, 'Q&A: Bernard Lewis on Islam’s Crisis', Time, 20 September 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Bernard Lewis (photograph courtesy of Alan Koic from Time and posted at the above link).