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The Great Theft


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About the Author

Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl is one of the most important and influential Islamic thinkers in the modern age. An accomplished Islamic jurist and scholar, he is a professor at the UCLA School of Law, where he teaches Islamic law, immigration law, human rights law, and international and national security law. As the most critical and powerful voice against puritanical and Wahhabi Islam today, he regularly appears on national and international television and radio, including CNN, NBC, PBS, NPR, and the Voice of America (broadcast throughout the Middle East).


Islamist jurist and Western law scholar El Fadl's (law, UCLA; U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom) objective is to address some of the difficulties currently facing Islam by distinguishing between what he refers to as Muslim "puritans" and "moderates" (i.e., the extremists and the moderate majority), portraying the context in which each group has developed and describing the distinctions on each side. He thereby provides a useful introduction and background on the subject for interested readers. He is especially concerned about whose voice currently represents Islam, believing it is politics that distorts its message and gives the West a perspective of a faith filled with violence. Further, he expresses a bias against Islamic purists because he feels they detract from Islam and argues for the moderate majority to engage in a counter-jihad. Since it focuses on Muslim extremists, this book affords readers an opportunity to better evaluate the current situation of Islam to which they are exposed. It will have broad public appeal and is appropriate for libraries where interest exists.-Naomi Hafter, Baltimore Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"The Great Theft is probably the most dramatic manifesto from an American Muslim since the September 11 attacks." -- Associated Press "Those looking for an understanding of the Muslim world and its relationship to the West...will find this book invaluable." -- Dallas Morning News "Mother Jones and the National Review rarely see eye-to-eye, but we both agree on this essential title." -- Mother Jones Magazine "An uncommonly rich, learned and easily accessible framework for understanding the current theological struggle within Islam." -- Washington Post Book World "... [The Great Theft] lucidly answers important questions Westerners have about Islam." -- San Francisco Chronicle "Khaled Abou El Fadl has made a contribution that should be widely distributed and deeply reflected upon." -- Globe and Mail (Toronto) "One of the more engaging primers on Islam available." -- Foreign Affairs

El Fadl, professor of Islamic law at UCLA and Bush appointee to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, is the academic voice of the world's majority-moderate Muslims. His strong credentials and thoughtful approach set him apart from his peers. Here, he successfully argues that the extremist sects of Islam, mainly Wahhabism, blatantly defy the true values of Islam. He clarifies that Wahhabism was once an unpopular, fringe, cultlike movement, which only grew through a chance partnership with the Saudi Arabian ruling family. The discovery of oil created an unprecedented infusion of petro-dollars into the fledgling, conservative belief system. The point of the book, El Fadl writes, is to define "the reality of Muslim thought as it currently exists." He focuses on the extremists' "puritan" view, exposing the hypocrisies and inconsistencies inherent in their "imagined Islam." He doesn't offer specific solutions, but he raises the issues carefully and well. Though the writing can be dry and portions read like a law school lecture, overall El Fadl's book is a fulfilling read for moderate Muslims concerned about conservative leadership and any non-Muslims who want to inform themselves about the extremists' misuse of Islam. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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