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Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic lllusion of an Islamic State Hardcover – Apr 14 2008

3.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 14 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470841168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470841167
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 780 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #98,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"I think this book is a positive contribution to the discussion about contemporary Islam and certainly a valuable addition to the voices that are critically looking at Islam's right-wing. . . . I don't think there is any other public intellectual in the North American arena -- Muslim or other -- who could have written this book." (HuffingtonPost.com, April 15th, 2008)

"...a book worthy of attention...both for its contents and for the courage of its author." (Haaretz, October 2008)


"Tarek Fatah has written a provocative and challenging book, which is a must-read for anyone who cares about these issues."--Janice Gross Stein, Director, Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto

"Chasing a Mirage is an extremely valuable contribution to the fight by progressive Muslims against Islamic fascism. This book should be required reading for the Left in the West who have mistakenly started believing that Islamists represent some sort of anti-imperialism."--Farooq Tariq, Secretary General, Pakistan Labour Party

"Fatah argues passionately for universalism instead of exclusivism, integration instead of ghettoism, and makes a powerful appeal for the silent majority of Muslims to speak out before it is too late. This work of courage and daring needs to be read widely."--Pervez Hoodboy, Professor, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

"This fascinating work by brave and brilliant Tarek Fatah is simultaneously thought-provoking, instructive and enlightening for laymen and scholars, Muslim and non-Muslim ... an invaluable and rare addition to the corpus of Islamic literature in the post 9/11 world, a bold step towards Islamic Reformation and Enlightenment."--Taj Hasmi, Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, Honolulu

"Tarek Fatah's is a voice that needs to be heard. Canada needs a healthy, reasoned debate about the issues he is raising, and indeed, so does the world."--Bob Rae, Member of Parliament, Canada


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Written in 2008 by a man who lives in Canada it begins with there being no succession plan following The Prophet's passing, perhaps there was not a need for that. It appears people were power hungry and thus begins a tale as people aspire to be the head of the faith. The different kingdoms are chronicled and their down falls (some violent) explained.

Says jihad is a death cult. Towards the end it discusses the current situation and the wearing of the hijab, if not women face a dire situation. Racism seems to play a part in the direction of the faith. Anti-music, not even clapping acceptable.

Concludes with some sobering stats about the accomplishments such as quality of colleges and amount of scientists. Insightful. At times hard to believe. The author has numerous notes, and an index. No photos or maps.
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Format: Hardcover
It is hard to disagree with the main argument that a faith-based state has no place in the contemporary world. Also, the Islamic laws which were essentially developed more than a thousand years ago need to be reviewed and, where necessary, reconstructed to address the needs and the norms of the modern times. The author makes a good case in support of the above, but then goes a bit overboard. For example, it is unrealistic to say that there was never a need for an Islamic state. Islam could not have survived and flourished without a sponsoring state in its early days (and neither would Christianity). That was the "way of the world" in old days. Also, calling Saudi Arabia as an occupier of Mecca and Madina (Hijaz) is absurd. Placing India in the same league as Canada and other Western countries for a fair treatment of minorities is also unreal. I totally agree with the author that what Muslims need is. "stats of Islam" and not an Islamic State. However, other people are entitled to their opinion and have a right to express and promote their argument.
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Format: Hardcover
Clearly Tarek Fatah has a lot of honesty, integrity and courage. He challenges the powers-that-be in Muslim traditionalism, whatever their claims to infallibility or superiority. But what Fatah does should not be considered controversial. He just compares the Quran with the later pronouncements of dictators and clerics. What's so heretical about that?

Fatah and the scholars he cites show that the autocratic power of early caliphs violated the values of social equality and rule by community consultation. Then a long series of clerical pronouncements proceeded to correct the Quran. The sharia law of stoning adulterers violated the Quran's chapter 4 verses 15-16 and 25, plus chapter 24 verses 2-3. The sharia law permitting the killing of apostates violated the Quran's chapter 2, verse 256, chapter 3 verses 88-89, chapter 4 verse 94, and chapter 16 verse 106. During Muhammad's life three Muslims were recorded as renouncing Islam, and none of them faced any death penalty. The sharia law banning women's testimony in legal cases violated the Quran's chapter 24, verses 4 and 11-20. The sharia law allowing Muslim men to pronounce an "instant" divorce on their wives violated chapter 2 verses 228-229 and chapter 65 verses 1-2. The rule that women should "cover your heads" (chapter 24 verse 31) actually said "cover your bosom (gayb)" -- it didn't mention the head (raas).

Fatah explores Islamic history from the death of Muhammad forward. With unblinking honesty he relates the seizures of power, the political murders, the civil wars.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I red this book with fool attention and interest and learned so much from it. It was a hot read for me. It is very good for better understanding of Islam throughout its history but very actual, as well, especially regarding ongoing fight with and about ISIS. The author, Mr. Fatah, deserves huge appreciation for his effort and courage to write this excellent book. One aspect of the book deserves special appreciation and that is: contribution for better understanding and practice of the fate of Islam in Canadian society. In that regard, Mr. Fatah deserves every respect and admiration for his tireless activism and engagement.
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Format: Hardcover
I think it is a fair observation of affairs in the Islamic world. My dissatisfaction with this book came in chapter four when Mr. Fatah discusses "Islamic state of Iran". He doesn't know much about the history of Iran as best as he should. May be he could benefit a lot from reading books (such as Eternal Iran by Michael Rubin) other than a biased book like 'All the Shah's men' which he calls a classic, unfortunately. Mr. Kinzer author of that book is supposed to be a prime target of Mr. Fatah's book but here he praises him when he needs a Communist, pro-Jihadi idiot to prove his point. So he lost me there. Mr. Fatah says he wants to awaken the misinformed Western leftists but he quotes one of the worst of them: Stephen Kinzer. And quoting him to prove a point about the history of Iran is just plain wrong and un-academic. I am though with him on the terrible state of affairs in Iran and I praise Mr. Fatah for bringing this up in his book. Iranian people need to be heard and I am glad Mr. Fatah does them justice in this book.

Again, I need to say that Mr. Fatah ignores the facts about Iranian coup of 1953. He doesn't understand that PM Mossadegh was not ELECTED, rather appointed to the job and according to the constitution of Iran at that time, the Shah had the power to dismantle the Parliament and take the Premiership away from Mossadegh and when he did so, Mossadegh refused and resisted. The rest is story of history. One more thing is Mr. Fatah's point that Iran, Turkey and Iraq OCCUPY Kurdistan. Well, that's another point that Mr. Fatah does not appreciate the history of that part of the world. Kurdistan has never been OCCUPIED by Iran as he claims, it has been PART of Iran since the dawn of history. He fails to back his claim up.
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