I posted the following as a book review for Yaroslav Trofimov’s 2005 book, “Faith At War: A Journey On The Frontlines Of Islam, From Baghdad To Timbuktu.” Trofimov is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and wrote this book detailing his investigative reporting about Islam around the world from 2001 through 2005.
This book provides a superb overview of political Islam as it has developed since the early twentieth century, and especially since the events of September 11, 2001. Anyone wanting a better understanding of the political landscape not only within Iraq and Afghanistan but also Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the world today is well advised to read these stories and perspectives from Yaroslav Trofimov. I would not categorize this book strictly as being about “religion,” as its Google Books category might indicate, but also about politics, history, and current affairs. There are so many aspects of the Islamic faith about which I was ignorant, and now have a little more knowledge as well as perspective thanks to Yaroslav’s writing.
His book leaves me with many mixed emotions, but paramount among these is a desire for grace and forgiveness. These gifts do not appear to be a part of Wahhabi (or Muwahiddun) Islam, and the cause of peace in our world relies upon those who would not continue to escalate violence in an unending spiral.
If only we could learn from the Muslims of Mali, as Yaroslav writes in his book, who model the importance of separating religion and politics.
If you have any interest in better understanding global geo-politics, the relationship between the West and the Arab world, and the importance of history in shaping current military conflicts, I strongly encourage you to read, “Faith At War.”
Many thanks to my good friend, Bill Casebeer, for giving me this book several years ago and encouraging me to read it. As is the case with many good non-fiction books, I find myself with an even greater appetite to learn more about the topics the author opens up after reading his excellent treatise of them.
We should all pray for peace not only in the Middle East and the near East, but within the hearts and minds of people everywhere who have been the victims as well as the perpetrators of violence. May God forgive us, and grant us the grace to forgive our brothers and sisters.
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