Ziauddin Sardar, one of the foremost Muslim intellectuals in Britain, learned the Koran at his mother's knee in Pakistan. As a young student in London he set out to grasp the meaning of his religion, and, hopefully, to find 'paradise', his quest leading him throughout the Muslim world, from Iran to China to Turkey. He finds himself torn between ...
Ziauddin Sardar, one of the foremost Muslim intellectuals in Britain, learned the Koran at his mother's knee in Pakistan. As a young student in London he set out to grasp the meaning of his religion, and, hopefully, to find 'paradise', his quest leading him throughout the Muslim world, from Iran to China to Turkey. He finds himself torn between rage at Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and disgust at the fatwah, and is horrified by the events of September 11 2001, but his irrepressible curiosity compels him to search for a middle, humane way between western secularism and Islamist certainty. Along the way he accepts that he may never reach paradise - but it's the journey that's important. At a time when the view of Islam in the West is so often distorted and simplistic, Desperately Seeking Paradise - self-mocking, frank and passionate - is essential reading.
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-09-26 Sardar has written a curious, often amusing travelogue of his quest for understanding and the Muslims he has encountered along his journeys. Pakistani by birth (in 1951) but raised in Britain, Sardar studied physics, but got sidetracked early into popular science writing and politics, becoming a member of FOSIS (the Federation of Students Islamic Society), an intellectual group opposed to the right-wing Muslim Brotherhood. This book chronicles Sardar's travels through the Muslim world as an observant journalist and a seeker with one principal question: how can Muslims keep the faith but also fit into the modern world? In Tehran in 1974, Sardar found an Islamic revolution brewing, with an Imam Khomeini at its front. In Baghdad, he was told to "keep an eye on" vice-president Saddam Hussein. In Mecca, he found the ancient pilgrim's city being rapidly demolished and "hideous mosques" being erected by the Bin Laden Group. In Pakistan, China and Nigeria, he discovered groups who yearned to be governed by harsh shariah law. Sardar has done the necessary background reading to fill readers in, he never preaches, and despite what sometimes seems a dismaying array of evidence otherwise, he never loses hope for the future of Muslim civilization. (Dec. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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