Militant Islamist Ideology

BOOK REVIEW by Willard Manus

MILITANT ISLAMIST IDEOLOGY--UNDERSTANDING THE GLOBAL THREAT explains Islam in a way from which everyone can benefit. The author, Commander Yousedd H. Aboul-Enein, an officer in the U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps., was born in Mississippi but raised in Saudi Arabia. His knowledge of Arabic and above all the Qu'ran is impressive; even better, he can express that knowledge in a concise, easy-to-read way. By clearly defining the differences between Islam, Islamist and Militant Islamist, Aboul-Enein spells out how the largely peaceful and humanistic message of the Qu'ran has been perverted by groups such as al-Qaida and the Taliban.

"It is only through ideological deconstruction that we can take back Islamic history from al-Qaida and its sympathizers," the author asserts. "In the end, we cannot have a strategy without defining a threat. After all, a strategy is written against a defined challenge, and we have yet to define clearly the challenge to America's national security in the twenty-first century."

Above all, Aboul-Enein urges us to refrain from labeling Islam as the problem. The religion is not inherently violent, he insists; neither is our struggle a bipolar one between Islam and the West. "This negates the reality that Muslims are needed to fight militant Islamists."

MILITANT ISLAMIST IDEOLOGY, as one reviewer noted, "should be required reading for anyone interested in the conflict of ideas within Islam." (Naval Institute Press;