Sunday 2 August 2009

William Dalrymple Articles

William Dalrymple is one of my favourite authors and his articles on Pakistan (1,2,3) stand out for the level of research and knowledge in them when most journalists and writers just go for the "Pakistan is doomed as a failed state" line (without actually having been to Pakistan or met many Pakistani's).

In the same way although I don't agree with everything he writes, his articles on Islam are usually well-informed. Two I enjoyed were his New Statesman cover story on Islamophobia:

As Jason Burke points out at the end of his excellent book Al-Qaeda, "The greatest weapon in the war on terrorism is the courage, decency, humour and integrity of the vast proportion of the world's 1.2 billion Muslims. It is this that is restricting the spread of al-Qaeda, not the activities of counter-terrorism experts. Without it, we are lost. There is indeed a battle between the west and men like Bin Laden. But it is not a battle for global supremacy. It is a battle for hearts and minds. And it is a battle that we, and our allies in the Muslim world, are currently losing."

and his refutation of the nonsense the Islamophobe Martin Amis has been spouting:

It is the lack of nuance that is most alarming. For Amis, all Islamists are the same, whether mass-murdering jihadis, or completely non-violent but religiously conservative democrats. Nor is it just the militant Islamists he dislikes: ordinary Muslims are regarded with equal contempt. He writes, with deep distaste, of “the writhing moustaches of Pakistan” and “the shoving, jabbing, jeering brotherhood” that Christopher Hitchens encounters in Peshawar. It seems, to Amis, that people’s religion and ethnicity can remove them from rational discourse, and relegate them to the position of untermenschen.

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