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Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West

30 review for Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West

  1. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    Anyone who knew I was reading Reconciliation, knew that this book was a tough read for me. First, I rarely read works of non-fiction, and second, I didn't know much about the Islamic world/history, though I was vastly curious. But there was something about Benazir Bhutto that really drew me in. After she was killed, I wanted to know more about her--this strong female figure, in a male dominated Muslim world. I may not agree with everything she said but this book has done a few things for me: 1. I Anyone who knew I was reading Reconciliation, knew that this book was a tough read for me. First, I rarely read works of non-fiction, and second, I didn't know much about the Islamic world/history, though I was vastly curious. But there was something about Benazir Bhutto that really drew me in. After she was killed, I wanted to know more about her--this strong female figure, in a male dominated Muslim world. I may not agree with everything she said but this book has done a few things for me: 1. It has taught me the different sects of Islam and the religious differences between Sunnis and Shias, which seemed so confusing when you turn on the television. 2. It made Pakistani history digestible and showed how certain events shape the world that we live in today. 3. It made me understand the Islamic perspective for someone who really has a Western point of view. 4. It made me feel so grateful to be able to live in a free country, where I'll be treated with equality (for the most part ;)). This book contains a multitude of information and to capture it in a few bullets doesn't seem to do it justice. I was frustrated that I was taking so long to read it but I'm glad I took the time and care to read the paragraphs, the chapters. I think the world has lost a great visionary, but I think her work, her political party, and her democratic dreams will live on and I hope to see one day that her aspirations come to fruition.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Saadia B. || CritiConscience

    A book which Benazir Bhutto herself penned and was published after her assassination. BB’s government was twice toppled due to high corruption charges. And this book clearly doesn’t talk about them. She illustrates about her life incidents but fails to provide a clear picture. Her image in people’s mind would always be of her being a brave lady and that she was no doubt! However in this book she talks about terrorism, its link with Islam as portrayed by controlled media and how Western countries A book which Benazir Bhutto herself penned and was published after her assassination. BB’s government was twice toppled due to high corruption charges. And this book clearly doesn’t talk about them. She illustrates about her life incidents but fails to provide a clear picture. Her image in people’s mind would always be of her being a brave lady and that she was no doubt! However in this book she talks about terrorism, its link with Islam as portrayed by controlled media and how Western countries especially USA continue to influence and manipulate politics in Pakistan for their own benefit. Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Facebook | LinkedIn

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Benazir Bhutto first caught my eye many years ago when I noticed that she was prime minister of Pakistan. I was heartened to see a female leader in an Islamic nation because Islamic societies have a reputation for cruelty to women with Pakistan not being the least among them in this regard. Although I admired her and thought it a bad thing when she lost power and Pakistan descended again into military dictatorship, I did not really know anything about her politics. Naturally upset by Bhutto’s as Benazir Bhutto first caught my eye many years ago when I noticed that she was prime minister of Pakistan. I was heartened to see a female leader in an Islamic nation because Islamic societies have a reputation for cruelty to women with Pakistan not being the least among them in this regard. Although I admired her and thought it a bad thing when she lost power and Pakistan descended again into military dictatorship, I did not really know anything about her politics. Naturally upset by Bhutto’s assassination, I ordered her book and hoped to learn something about her. Reconciliation proved to be the political manifesto of a courageous fighter for democracy. While reading it, I would sicken with regret that she was no longer alive to promote the ideas in her book. Her vision is badly needed by Pakistan and the world. She opens her book by recounting her headstrong return to Pakistan after eight years of exile in anticipation of elections. As a westerner I had heard in the news about the 179 deaths that resulted from the suicide bomber attacks that greeted her return. The slim facts to which I had been exposed failed to reveal what a tremendous event had taken place upon Bhutto’s return to her homeland in October 2007. She stated that three million people lined the streets of Karachi to welcome her. Imagine a crowd of three million gathering for a politician. She wrote that the power was cut throughout Karachi so that the traffic lights and street lights would be out. This prevented cameras from capturing the size of the crowd. The lack of power and absence of help from the Pakistani government for security added to her danger as she progressed through the adoring crowds in an armored vehicle. Hundreds of young men walked around her vehicle to form a human shield to protect her from attack. I was greatly moved to hear of these men who risked their lives for her. They did it because they believe in democracy. They want a government of the people and for the people. Such a pity that my news only talks about suicide bombers and not true martyrs such as these men. Many of them died in the ensuing explosions and sniper fire that descended upon her. Bhutto survived this attack, but she only had two more months to live. Reconciliation goes on to explain Bhutto’s deeply held belief that Islam is not opposed to democracy. Through extensive theological research, she shows that Islam as a religion and philosophy is perfectly capable of promoting and supporting democracy. Bhutto then sadly acknowledges the fact that much of the Islamic world suffers under tyrannies. She blames both the colonial period, the foreign policy of the United States, and Islamic peoples for complaining about these things instead of doing more to fix their societies and reduce corruption, promote economic growth, and promote social justice. She blames the tyrannical dictatorships for producing fertile grounds for extremism and terrorism. Tyrannies stifle societies and restrict free speech. Populations under such repressive regimes despair because they have no power over their situations. In such climates terrorists and fundamentalists with Medieval philosophies gain power and influence. The last half of the book attacks the rising philosophy known as the clash of civilizations that says conflict between the West and Islam is inevitable. With facts and support from many scholars she dismantles this theory, but warns that it could produce a self-fulfilling prophecy if it is given credence by policy makers, as is apparently being done. Bhutto concludes by presenting her many ideas for fostering democracy throughout the world and bringing peace between civilizations. Her research showed that democracies tend not to go to war with each other, so therefore if democracy could flourish within the Islamic world, then peace would prevail. Bhutto proposed massive investments in education, women’s rights, and the creation of organizations to support civil institutions. These actions and many more are badly needed in the Islamic world, where studies show that the majority of people desire democratic government and institutions. She warns that if the international community and the peoples of Islam continue to leave many countries to fester under tyranny, extremism and terrorism will thrive. She supports this assertion with the fact that extremists and terrorists have increased their power substantially within Pakistan since dictatorship took hold again. Large portions of the country are completely under the control of vicious fundamentalists that offer only war, poverty, and misery. Everyone should read Reconciliation because the ideas that it contains are so crucial to improving the lives of billions of people. Her ideas are certainly worth trying because the alternatives are so bad. As a written work, this book swings between dry scholarly discussions and impassioned accounts from Bhutto’s life. This sometimes made it a chore to read, but I learned many things and was often moved to tears. The loss of Benazir Bhutto leaves the world in that much more jeopardy of suffering a clash of civilizations. She was a brave leader. I have no doubt that the Pakistanis will honor and revere her for generations. Pakistan remains seriously troubled and terrorists increasingly make it a base of operations, but at least I can believe that there are millions of Muslims who want it to be very different. The brutal murder of Benazir Bhutto robbed her nation of an astute politician who could fight the good fight, but I can hope that the students attending the tens of thousands of schools that she built are learning good lessons. If not for her, they would likely be illiterate or attending a terrorist-run madrassa. Progress has been made but the need of the world remains great.

  4. 4 out of 5

    lp

    I picked up this book thinking that Benazir Bhutto was going to be my hero but I was very disappointed. I know she is heroic and was a martyr for her cause -- Islamic Democracy -- and I wanted to know more about that. About how she promoted women and freedom and voice to the people of Pakistan. I loved to hear about her optimism about how Islam is a peaceful religion that has been hijacked by extremists who stray from the real messages of the Quran. That message was pounded into my brain at my l I picked up this book thinking that Benazir Bhutto was going to be my hero but I was very disappointed. I know she is heroic and was a martyr for her cause -- Islamic Democracy -- and I wanted to know more about that. About how she promoted women and freedom and voice to the people of Pakistan. I loved to hear about her optimism about how Islam is a peaceful religion that has been hijacked by extremists who stray from the real messages of the Quran. That message was pounded into my brain at my liberal arts college. But I am starting to become less satisfied with that explanation. I want to know more. I was hoping to get more with this book. But I did not. I know that Islam is a beautiful religion. It fascinates me and I believe that Mohammad could have been a prophet much like Jesus and others. His message was of peace and love. I understand that people misconstrue the text of the Quran to fit their own religious ideologies. People do that with the Bible, too. But then why isn't there such extremism in Judaism and Christianity? Why do Jews and Christians generally enjoy more freedoms than Muslims? Why has democracy stuck in the West but seems almost impossible in the Middle East? Why isn't there the terrorism we see in Judaism and Christianity that we see in Islam? Bhutto says that there is terrorism in Christianity and sites bombings of abortion clinics. Are we really going there? We're comparing that to September 11th or the bombings that happen in Pakistan every single day? And I'm sure they're reallllly pro-choice in Pakistan. (Har har.) I don't want to believe that Islam is inherently less peaceful than Christianity and Judaism. I don't want to! But then what is going on here? That is what I'm dying to know, and I cannot get an answer. I was hoping to find an answer in Bhutto's book, but instead found stereotypes and falsities about Christianity, and narrowmindedness about being a Muslim. She tends to quote the Quran (ex. "And if your Lord had pleased He would certainly have made people a single nation, and they shall continue to differ.") and then summarize the text, saying "This means that... blahdiddy blahdiddy blah. That God created diversity and asked believers to be just and to desire justice in the world." Ms. Bhutto, it's nice that this is how you read the text. I wish more people were like you. But hundreds and thousands of Muslims do not accept diversity, and that is the problem. That is what scares people. What do we do about that? She says that Islam "has actually embraced other cultures and religions in ways much more accepting and respectful than any of the other great monotheistic religions of our time in their early periods. Islam may now have the image of being closed and intolerant, but nothing could be further from the truth, as much as extremists would like the world to think otherwise." Some of Islam is closed and intolerant -- there are things further from the truth. Don't lie to us. It makes me doubt everything you say. Another summary of the Quranic text: "And if your Lord had pleased He would certainly have made people a single nation, and they shall continue to differ." This means that God created diversity and asked believers to be just and to desire justice in the world. The Quran acknowledges that salvation can be achieved in all monotheistic religions. Islam embraces all humanity under one God, discrediting all other exclusive religions clams to salvation. I don't believe there is anything quite like this in any religion on earth." In Benazir Bhutto's Islam, Islam embraces all humanity under one God. Yay! That's her interpretation and I love it. But wait a second... she's discrediting Christianity. And in my interpretation of Christianity, all of humanity is embraced ... not just under one God. Everyone. Not just Monotheistic faiths. She criticizes the Bible for saying that Jesus is the "Way The Truth and the Light." But to me, that means that He is the Way the Truth and the Light for Christians. For me. Not everyone. People assume that quote implies exclusivity, for some absurd reason. To me, it doesn't. Ms. Bhutto, if you're going to be liberal with interpreting your sacred text, please let me do the same with mine. (BTW, "Islam accepts as worthy of salvation all those who believe in one god as the Master and Creator" seems like a false statement to me. Aren't Muslims who convert religions considered "apostates," a capital offense?) There is a lot more shit that I don't agree with, but one point made me a little angry: "Recently on American television, the right-wing commentator Ann Coulter created a great stir by suggesting that Jews need to be "perfected" and by being perfected would become Christians. She repeatedly called Christians "perfected Jews." There is no parallel concept of exclusion anywhere in Islamic holy texts and doctrine. In Islam, all monotheistic religions are seen as paths to salvation." Can we please not compare Ann Couter's bigoted rants to Islamic holy texts and doctrine? Can she please not be sited as the source? She is an extreme shock jock and shouldn't be taken seriously. That was a low blow, Ms. Bhutto, and that isn't fair. I don't know a great deal about Middle East politics, so I was impressed with Bhutto's analysis on the democratic growth across the Muslim world, and I really do love her vision of a democratic Muslim World. "Importantly, the Quran gives authority to human representatives on earth (i.e. government): "O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you." This passage is the basic building block of government, as it allows for human authority on earth: government." Great. Let's spread that word around. And Bhutto does give full blame on the West for the dictatorship and stunt of growth in the East. And I don't know enough about Foreign policy to argue with her. But because I found so many falsities in her rants on Christianity, I have to wonder if she hasn't exaggerated here, too. I enjoyed Bhuttos's vision for Democracy. I just had some issues with her religious views. I think I'd like to read a book about the good she has done -- one that focuses on her political career. Any suggestions?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Unfortunately, the author spends most of chapter 2 quoting passages from the Quran in an attempt to prove that Islam is not a violent or mysogynist religion. Like trying to read the Bible, this just made my eyes glaze over (MEGO). Now I don't pretend to know a lot about Islam. But when her interpretation of the evidence is along the lines of "a close reading shows that it does not advocate violence against people of the book, only those who reject I really wanted to like this book more than I did. Unfortunately, the author spends most of chapter 2 quoting passages from the Quran in an attempt to prove that Islam is not a violent or mysogynist religion. Like trying to read the Bible, this just made my eyes glaze over (MEGO). Now I don't pretend to know a lot about Islam. But when her interpretation of the evidence is along the lines of "a close reading shows that it does not advocate violence against people of the book, only those who reject God and his teachings outright" (p. 24), I'm not reassured. I'm sure volumes have been written on the subject, but Bhutto displays a certain arrogance in expecting the reader to believe that she has definitively settled the matter about the nature of Islam. In what seems like several hundred pages later, the book gets better in chapter 3, when she recounts the often shameful history of the U.S. and Britain's -- especially in the Cold War era -- actions in the Middle East. Look up "Operation Ajax." And chapter 4, the history of Pakistan, is worth reading. And if I recall correctly, Bhutto does acknowledge that Muslim nations are less free than other nations (as ranked by Freedom House), and that this failure cannot all be blamed on the West. Many of the problems are related to Arab culture. Bhutto's credibility is not enhanced when she dismisses Ayaan Hirsi Ali for "her attacks on Islam and even on the Prophet himself have I believe put her outside the rational, useful debate over competing cultures" (p.248). See also http://www.peeniewallie.com/2007/10/a... Bhutto then concludes by calling for the creation of some government and NGO programs -- a "twenty-first-century Marshall Plan to assist the Islamic world to leap into modernity" (p. 304). Rather than wade through book, I'd recommend two, much shorter, essays (1) "Spotting the Losers: Seven Signs of Non-Competitive States" by Ralph Peters (Spring 1998) http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/Pa... In case you're curious, the seven signs are * Restrictions on the free flow of information. * The subjugation of women. * Inability to accept responsibility for individual or collective failure. * The extended family or clan as the basic unit of social organization. * Domination by a restrictive religion. * A low valuation of education. * Low prestige assigned to work. (2) "Who Is Our Enemy" by Steven den Beste (September 2002) http://www.denbeste.nu/cd_log_entries... ...The only Arab nations which have prospered have done so entirely because of the accident of mineral wealth. Using money from export of oil, they imported a high tech infrastructure. They drive western cars. They use western cell phones. They built western high-rise steel frame buildings. They created superhighways and in every way implemented the trappings of western prosperity. Or rather, they paid westerners to create all those things for them. They didn't build or create any of it themselves. It's all parasitic. And they also buy the technical skill to keep it running.... PS -- Interestingly, the first blurb on the back cover is by Walter Isaacson, author of the Einstein biography I read before this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mehwish Mughal

    I read Benazir Bhutto's daughter of the East first, which was published in 1989. The Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West was published in 2008. An approximate 19 years gap between the two books. Daughter of the East voiced the ideas in the capacity of a daughter whereas this book in comparison was written by a transformed intellectual visionary. This book is divided into 6 chapters. The first chapter deals with Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan from her political exile and the failed I read Benazir Bhutto's daughter of the East first, which was published in 1989. The Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West was published in 2008. An approximate 19 years gap between the two books. Daughter of the East voiced the ideas in the capacity of a daughter whereas this book in comparison was written by a transformed intellectual visionary. This book is divided into 6 chapters. The first chapter deals with Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan from her political exile and the failed assassination attack on her life. The second part is by far the most enlightening and my favorite part of the book. It analyses democracy in Islamic framework and establishes that democracy as an ideology sits in the heart of Islam. The third part is a very difficult and bitter lesson in history. She presents Muslim nations as case studies to highlight the involvement of West (for political and economical agendas) which resulted in the disruption of progress. She emphasizes that the West had no doubt exacerbated the issues faced by Muslim countries but the burden of responsibility lies with us as well. And we must take charge of our situations now and continue working towards freedom. The fourth part deals directly with the political history of Pakistan. I was always a bit resentful towards India for having progressed so far whereas we born at the same time had hardly moved a few steps forward. Benazir Bhutto provides plausible explanations which put the matter to rest for me: - The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah died one year after we were declared independent which can be analogous to a baby orphaned at birth. - The second that INC had grassroots organization through experience - 1948 war left us feeling vulnerable and hence we focused on our military thereafter rather than social and economic growth. - The inequality in distribution of resources post-independence. The fifth part is a critical analysis of Samuel Huntington's "the clash of civilization" A dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy - Clashers versus Reconciliationists. The last part is a call to strengthen our nations through modernization. It is a call to the West to open their minds and it is an equally important call to the East to open their hearts. Her closing quote pretty much summarizes her position: "I appreciate that what I propose-from what the Muslim states must do to what the West must do-is huge and may seem daunting and even impossible. I make these recommendations because the times require something more than business as usual. Much of what is recommended is somewhat out of the box. But staying within the box has brought poverty, ignorance, hopelessness, violence and dictatorship to far too many Muslims around the world. Staying within the box has set Islam and the West on a dangerous and unnecessary collision course. It is time for new ideas. It is time for creativity.It is time for bold commitment. And it is time for honesty, both among people and between people. That is what I have tried to do in these pages. There has been enough pain. It is time for reconciliation ." An absolutely must read treatise on Islam, Democracy and the West!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I picked up this book thinking "Yeah! A Muslim woman's perspective on Islamic culture and the West. And she was even prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. She ought to have a ton of insights." Sadly, my enthusiasm was short-lived. This book had many interesting parts, but ultimately ended up being unpersuasive and tedious for a few reasons. First of all, I am skeptical of anyone who gives one verse of a holy scripture, explains how it supports their point of view and moves on withou I picked up this book thinking "Yeah! A Muslim woman's perspective on Islamic culture and the West. And she was even prime minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. She ought to have a ton of insights." Sadly, my enthusiasm was short-lived. This book had many interesting parts, but ultimately ended up being unpersuasive and tedious for a few reasons. First of all, I am skeptical of anyone who gives one verse of a holy scripture, explains how it supports their point of view and moves on without further sources or even counterarguments to what opponents might say about that verse. Bhutto does this several times in the sections about woman's rights, religious tolerance/freedom and violence in Islam. It doesn't make for a persuasive argument. During the recounting of the history of Pakistan, there were no criticisms of anything her grandfather or her father did. She seemed unable to look at the situations objectively. I realize that it's not an easy thing to do. But once a section becomes purely justifications and defenses and blaming people-who-aren't-your-family, I start wondering what the truth actually is. This suspicion was increased when I spoke with a coworker who grew up while Bhutto was prime minister. My coworker essentially said "It's generally thought in Pakistan that Bhutto wanted to be prime minster to get revenge on her father's killers." The editing and stylistic choices were sometimes not conducive to an audiobook setting. As one of my status updates said, there was a point in the book where almost every sentence had the word "civilization". Possibly not that big of a deal if I was actually reading the book, but hearing the word "civilization" over and over again grated on my nerves after 10 minutes. There are also a few factual errors I caught, such as her claim that Muslim territorial expansion ended in the 9th century. Which makes me wonder what other claims needed fact-checker. Ultimately, I wonder if many of the problems I had with this book might have been fixed if there were proper editing and a little more time for Bhutto herself to bring it together cohesively. I get the sense that this was a semi-finished book thrown together by her family/supporters/publishers quickly so that people could read her thoughts before her name left the front page. (It was published only a few months after her death). Overall, a good read in the sense that I learned a lot, even if I'm taking it with a large grain of salt. But I wouldn't recommend it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Madhura

    Whether or not you agree with her views, it is 100% worthwhile reading the views of a well-educated muslim woman prime minister of a muslim nation about democracy-a political structure which has very little place in the current muslim world. Her scholarly and systematic approach to this topic cannot be ignored. Much of the writing comes from her own experiences in life and her interpretations of the Quran, but she also heavily refers to the political history of various muslim nations. Her convic Whether or not you agree with her views, it is 100% worthwhile reading the views of a well-educated muslim woman prime minister of a muslim nation about democracy-a political structure which has very little place in the current muslim world. Her scholarly and systematic approach to this topic cannot be ignored. Much of the writing comes from her own experiences in life and her interpretations of the Quran, but she also heavily refers to the political history of various muslim nations. Her conviction that democracy and Islam need to be reconciled, and that muslims need to look within for solutions to their social problems just as the West looks within so that they can truly help is praiseworthy. A book not to be missed.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Brown

    Non-extremist views of Islam and how f-up the US is politically.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

    I wasn't sure what to make of this book the first time I looked at it. For lack of a better term, I thought of it as an idealistic rant, albeit truly heroic and well written. The problem was that I had already read The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington and frankly I thought he was pretty much correct. Even if he wasn't, I had no doubt that dippy Islamist control freaks were set on molding the relatively ignorant masses to their way of thinking. As a matter of fact, that is one view I h I wasn't sure what to make of this book the first time I looked at it. For lack of a better term, I thought of it as an idealistic rant, albeit truly heroic and well written. The problem was that I had already read The Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington and frankly I thought he was pretty much correct. Even if he wasn't, I had no doubt that dippy Islamist control freaks were set on molding the relatively ignorant masses to their way of thinking. As a matter of fact, that is one view I haven't changed in the last ten years. The problem has just gotten worse. When I read the book for a book club, this time I spent some more time examining what she said as history. Bhutto makes very good points concerning the substantial commonality of Judaism, Christianity and Islam: all have a common father in Abraham. Abraham fathered his first son Ishmael by his wife's handmaid (at her insistence since she was around 90) and then miraculously Isaac by his ancient wife Sara. However, Ishmael, later the traditional father of Islam, is driven away and it is Isaac is nearly sacrificed to God by Abraham. Traditional Islam says that Isaac stole Ishmael’s birthright and the Jews rewrote the story. However, in the Qur’an, it simply states tat Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son. The son is not named. The problem comes when Muslim scholars assume that it was Ishmael who was meant even though it does not state that it was he. I mention this issue, first because most people just don’t understand the foundation, but also because this, in a nutshell, is what the modern fight is all about. It’s not religion, but control of the hearts and minds, kind of like NBC would like. It is Bhutto’s point of view that education can overcome this ignorance and then everyone can get together and play nice. I would tend to agree, but there are some very wealthy and powerful Islamists who don’t find it to their benefit that the common people actually find out what is really going on. Yeah, yeah, I know: Israel is somehow evil and nasty! What a bunch of punks! Once again, it’s about control more than it is about religion. If you think of about 500 years ago when Tyndale was burned at the stake (strangled at the same time oddly enough) for translating the Bible into English, then you have the idea of what it means to have religious control (Henry VIII) over people. In England, oddly enough, some 3 years after his death, they decided it was a good idea after all and produced An English Bible and then, finally, the King James version in 1611. This latter Bible, by the way, used almost all of Tyndale’s translation. Sorry William! The best part of this book is when Bhutto takes Huntington’s paper by the horns and wrestles with it. She makes very valid points and I agree that these things could happen if only some people would get their collective heads out of their Islamic butts…and the US will continue giving Pakistan money. I really wanted to agree with her too, but then there’s one minor point: the Taliban had her executed before she could ensure that women in Pakistan could actually have the right to tell some misogynist asshole they were forced to marry to take a hike! Along with that, I really can’t understand what these people are going to do to raise their standard of living unless they grow more poppies or invent some new software which takes the world by storm. In fairness, this woman knew that they were after her and that she would probably be killed but she returned to Pakistan anyway. I admire women who stand up and tell morons to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. I think she was right too. I just don’t think that there is enough goodness left in this world to counter all the evil schmucks that are already here, in Pakistan as well as in the West. God bless her for being brave enough to try and also for writing this idealistic book: maybe one day, some other woman will read her book and figure out what to do. I’m still an idealist because I have faith that things will ultimately be different.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rebekka Steg

    I felt that Reconciliation could've/should've been divided into at least 2, maybe even 3 separate books. A huge chunk in the middle deals with Pakistan's history and seems almost autobiographical, since the author and her family has played a huge role therein. Though interesting on it's own, it's hard to see the relevance and the connections to the rest of the book, dealing with other Muslim democracies and how to reconcile the East and the West. Also, I have no doubt that the way she portrays P I felt that Reconciliation could've/should've been divided into at least 2, maybe even 3 separate books. A huge chunk in the middle deals with Pakistan's history and seems almost autobiographical, since the author and her family has played a huge role therein. Though interesting on it's own, it's hard to see the relevance and the connections to the rest of the book, dealing with other Muslim democracies and how to reconcile the East and the West. Also, I have no doubt that the way she portrays Pakistan's history is hugely biased, focusing on all the great work her and her family did for Pakistan when they were in charge, and how everyone else only wanted to ruin it. I'm not saying she's wrong, just that it's something to keep in mind when reading this part of the book, that she's obviously not going to be critical of the political work done by her and her immediate family. The first part of the book deals with the various attempts at democracy in several primarily Muslim nations (such as Afghanistan, Indonesia, Morocco etc.), and why democracies haven't succeeded. In the last part of the book Bhutto very powerfully speaks against Samuel Huntington's theory of The Clash of Civilizations (for those not aware of this theory, in short it states that civilizations are going to clash (Christianity ][ Islam) and that these "clashes" are going to get increasingly violent and there's nothing we can do to stop/change that). I think the warning she sounds, that believing in this theory will make it a self-fulfilling prophesy is very accurate and thought-provoking. I also thinks she makes some very good points when she suggests that the West should help educate the people in Muslim countries through building and supporting schools and education systems, basic health care etc. Overall I really enjoyed this book, it had some very interesting perspectives and I would recommend it, especially to those interested in Pakistan.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Leighton

    Benazir Bhutto finished this book just months before her assassination. She fights against the "clashers" who insist Islam and democracy can not coexist and predict no end to the fight between Islam and the West. In contrast Bhutto insists "extremism thrived under dictatorship and is fueled by poverty, ignorance and hopelessness." She quotes extensively from the Quran to show the beauty and acceptance of diversity put forth in the Quran. I can't begin to do this book justice in a short review - Benazir Bhutto finished this book just months before her assassination. She fights against the "clashers" who insist Islam and democracy can not coexist and predict no end to the fight between Islam and the West. In contrast Bhutto insists "extremism thrived under dictatorship and is fueled by poverty, ignorance and hopelessness." She quotes extensively from the Quran to show the beauty and acceptance of diversity put forth in the Quran. I can't begin to do this book justice in a short review - but anyone wanting to understand more about Islam and the development of terrorist organizations in the Middle East who misuse Islam to justify atrocities needs to read her well researched and thought out book. She had many years in exile and a Harvard degree to help her think. She believes the West "must be ready to acknowledge the residual damage of colonialism and its support for dictatorships during the Cold War." In an intense focus on fighting communism the US too often supported the very men we are fighting now. She also says we need to revisit the effects of the War on Terror which too many in the Middle East see as a War on Islam. She absolutely does not blame Only the west. She blames poverty and fear and people who exploit age old Sunni and Shia differences - when Sunni and Shia coexisted peacefully for centuries. She offers solutions - based primarily on programs she attempted to put in place in Pakistan and programs that parallel the very successful Marshall Plan. It is hard to hate people you know, people you break bread with, people who offer you a leg up. She also points out that "this problem of religious fanatics hijacking religious values to serve their own violent interests is not a problem limited to Islam." Fanaticism grows where people are hungry and hopeless. The solution then lies not in bombing people so that they become more hungry and hopeless, but rather to help.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Bhutto presents arguments from the Quran favoring the compatibility of Islam and democracy, and she identifies the main center of gravity against terrorism as an intra-Muslim struggle for the future of Islam. She calls on Western countries to support Muslim progressive reformers, and stop supporting governments which oppress and restrict these Muslim progressive reformers. Main drawback (why I gave it only 3 stars) is that it is unevenly written. For example, it includes chatty, hyper-detailed, i Bhutto presents arguments from the Quran favoring the compatibility of Islam and democracy, and she identifies the main center of gravity against terrorism as an intra-Muslim struggle for the future of Islam. She calls on Western countries to support Muslim progressive reformers, and stop supporting governments which oppress and restrict these Muslim progressive reformers. Main drawback (why I gave it only 3 stars) is that it is unevenly written. For example, it includes chatty, hyper-detailed, inch-by-inch, not-very-interesting account of her personal return to Pakistan in 2007, followed by tightly written cogent arguments for compatibility of Islam and democracy, followed by strong policy recommendations in directive language without examination of the assumptions behind the recommendations, and without research to back up why these recommendations rather than others should be followed. Even so, on the whole it is an inspring book, with content vitally important for our times.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    The bravery and intellectual strength of Benazir Bhutto, martyred two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, combine to create a powerful and compelling book about the promise of democracy in the Islamic world. Bhutto finished the book just before she was murdered. Her gospel message of reconciliation, which is both morally forceful and intellectually strong, is the very message her murderers would like to have silenced in 2007. However, events on the world stage since 2007 have proven that her message The bravery and intellectual strength of Benazir Bhutto, martyred two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, combine to create a powerful and compelling book about the promise of democracy in the Islamic world. Bhutto finished the book just before she was murdered. Her gospel message of reconciliation, which is both morally forceful and intellectually strong, is the very message her murderers would like to have silenced in 2007. However, events on the world stage since 2007 have proven that her message will not be silenced, and there is much to be hopeful about. Libya. Egypt. The Arab Spring. These are all events that Bhutto never got to see, but which would have gladdened her, and must gladden those who champion her cause. The book has several parts. In part one, Bhutto outlines Islamic doctrine and religious history. She explains how the religion of Islam is completely congruent with democracy, intellectual progress, and women's rights. She quotes many of the scriptures that Islamic extremists and anti-Islamists both use to portray Islam as a violent, bloody religion, and explains how these passages have been taken out of context. She outlines the specific historical realities of pro-war verses, and how these verses were only written to apply to specific situations where ancient Muslims were instructed to defend themselves, not to engage in the violent global "jihad" of terrorists today. She outlines many Koranic verses that emphasize the pluralistic teachings of Muhammad; that Muslims must allow others to worship as they choose. She explains the word "jihad" doctrinally as a personal, inner struggle against sin, rather than a violent struggle against unbelievers. In part two, Bhutto explains the current (as of 2007) governmental structures of numerous Islamic countries throughout the world. She gives brief histories of several countries' experiments with democracy and pluralism, and shows how democracies have given way to hawkish, repressive military juntas. She outlines both the failure of these countries to build infrastructure, allow for political party formation, build schools and allow freedoms of speech and assembly, as well as the West's culpability in undermining budding democracies. For example, the CIA covertly deposed of a fledgling democrat in Tehran in the 1950's on the suspicion of Communist sympathies. This disastrous action led to the Shah regime and eventual Ayatollah-led theocracy still operating in Iran today. Of course, she also outlines the disaster that was the United States funding Taliban "freedom fighters" during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan to the tune of billions of dollars. So often, the West has made foreign policy blunders and undermined legitimate democracies for the sake of short-term political or financial goals. Part three of the book focuses specifically on Pakistan and Bhutto's experiences there as the daughter of a politician, and as two-time Prime Minister. With alarming candor, she describes her family's (and the nation of Pakistan's) unfortunate treatment at the hands of dictator Pervez Musharif, and her later successful diplomacy with him. She describes the multiple attempts on her life by terrorists and political opponents, and the violent deaths of several of her family members. (One scene describes a man attempting to hand Bhutto his infant child whom he had dressed in a tiny outfit of plastic explosives. The baby was used as a suicide bomb and the ensuing blast claimed many lives, though not Bhutto's life, of course). The final section is the most academic and the most compelling section of the book. Using an impressive arsenal of statistics and research, as well as quotations from foreign political experts, Bhutto convincingly explains how Islam and the West can work together to rebuild war-torn Islamic countries, provide for democracy and human rights, and have a working and successful relationship. This last section would be a compelling book on its own, and should be required reading for all leaders of state, diplomats, and members of legislatures and parliaments the world over. Her message is extremely warming, but is grounded in pragmatism and facts, not dewey-eyed optimism. I see Benazir Bhutto's work and legacy as one of those "shining cities on the hill" that President G.H.W. Bush described in 1990. She is a heroine and a martyr. Long live Bhutto!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    This book is a "must read" for all who wish to become more informed on the issues facing the world regarding differences between Islam and the western world. Ms. Bhutto explains in a most articulate and intelligent fashion why she believes that Islam and democracy are compatible. Her background as Prime Minister, her Harvard education, and her natural ability to express complex philosophies in a manner which can be understood by almost everyone, serve her well as she put forth reason after reason This book is a "must read" for all who wish to become more informed on the issues facing the world regarding differences between Islam and the western world. Ms. Bhutto explains in a most articulate and intelligent fashion why she believes that Islam and democracy are compatible. Her background as Prime Minister, her Harvard education, and her natural ability to express complex philosophies in a manner which can be understood by almost everyone, serve her well as she put forth reason after reason, fact upon fact, how the Muslim world has come to be viewed as it is by most westerners. Her keen insights allow her to offer advice not only to those in the West, but to her fellow Muslims, as well. Democracy in the Muslim world! That's what she was all about. And for that, she was martyred. Her death will not be in vain. Surely, even at this very moment, a young woman (or man), inspired by both her message and her life, is taking up her cause. We have not heard the last of Ms. Benazir Bhutto. We will most certainly hear more about how her life and martyrdom and their impact upon the Islamic world, Pakistan in particular, in the next years and decades.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julia Simpson-Urrutia

    One of the most logical, well-written arguments on the compatibility, nay the absolute right, of Islam to be be understood as a religion that embraces and at its highest expression, demands, an idealistic democracy such as both Aristotle and Socrates would have approved of. The reader will be stunned at the logic of her arguments and the strength of the support Benazir Bhutto offers.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Scotty Cameron

    I enjoyed that the author took the time to explain cultural differences between Christians and Muslims. Then she put into context the geopolitical situations that are causing the troubles of today. A very educational read from a unique point of view. Very recommended. Scotty Cameron

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nisar Masoom

    I was driven to tears after finishing Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West by the late two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. The year 2007 was both a growing point for me and also a tragic period. I had just finished my first year at Al Ain Juniors School and three months into eighth grade, the worldwide media aired the explosive transmission that rocked not only the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, but also the entire world. Benazir Bhutto was martyred on December 27, 2007 I was driven to tears after finishing Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West by the late two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. The year 2007 was both a growing point for me and also a tragic period. I had just finished my first year at Al Ain Juniors School and three months into eighth grade, the worldwide media aired the explosive transmission that rocked not only the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, but also the entire world. Benazir Bhutto was martyred on December 27, 2007. And just two months prior to her assassination, she had landed on Karachi soil after eight years spent in exile abroad. You can read my full review here: http://literaryretreat.com/reconcilia...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    I learned so much from this book

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    Bhutto is a woman whose words and story make me love her. In this book she writes clearly but often very academically, dryly, and repetitively about what is important to her. She talks about what Islam means to her, and her interpretation is liberal and beautiful. Islam, in her understanding, means to submit to Allah. It's your quintessential monotheistic religion. However, interpretation of the faith and of its holy book varies wildly. Bhutto believes that Islam calls for peace, for tolerance o Bhutto is a woman whose words and story make me love her. In this book she writes clearly but often very academically, dryly, and repetitively about what is important to her. She talks about what Islam means to her, and her interpretation is liberal and beautiful. Islam, in her understanding, means to submit to Allah. It's your quintessential monotheistic religion. However, interpretation of the faith and of its holy book varies wildly. Bhutto believes that Islam calls for peace, for tolerance of nonbelievers (especially other monotheists), for education, for charity, for gender equality. Sharia law, she believes and explains, is based on multiple very narrow interpretations of the Qur'an and laws which subjugate women in particular are based on cultural rather than religious traditions. After a decent but by no means comprehensive defense of Islam, Bhutto talks about how wonderful democracy is and how she believes it is integral to and not antithetical to peaceful Islam. She writes about how the U.S. government's model is a good one in theory (even if U.S. politics and the more decadent parts of culture are not). I forget much of the middle of the book in which she writes about the politics in different Muslim nations of the world and how the West in particular has helped or hindered freedom and democracy in those regions. She does acknowledge that there is PLENTY of blame to go around to all parties, and in most cases her arguments are carefully considered and I agree with them. It is important to understand the history of Islam, of the Muslim world, of U.S. and Western involvement in it, and how the pieces fit together. Equally important, though, are Bhutto's ideas for action. The U.S. spends a lot of money in military efforts; she recommends we do something more in line with what we did with the Marshall Plan after WWII and invest money (but much less than we're spending now) in humanitarian projects - food, basic clothing, education, women's reproductive health, vaccines, etc. to the poorest nations. As she puts it, this is both moral and self-serving, a combination I personally find to be consistent with the way things should be run and truly better for the world. She is careful to say that such humanitarian aid is not pandering to or placating to terrorist but helping to promote in a very tangible way the virtues of democracy. She cites as an example how Bin Laden did the same thing - offering food and shelter to some of the people in Pakistan and Afghanistan but plastering his face everywhere aid was given out. It's easy to be more willing to follow the leaders who are going to make sure your kids get to eat. Somehow Bhutto clarifies that this is not bribery but, in the case of a (sometimes) just West, moral good will. Fundamentalism, Bhutto says, breeds poverty and fanaticism. So: 1. Islam is inherently peaceful and is distorted by fundamentalists who use it for cultural and political agendas. 2. Islam as she understands it promotes democracy, education, and open discussion and debate. 3. The US and the West in general should be more tolerant and more aware of how our actions, especially military ones, affect the rest of the world and the way they perceive us. 4. Educating and empowering women in particular is vital to the success of democracy worldwide (she cites examples of how educating and empowering women helped Pakistan in particular). 5. Democratic nations with the means to do so should provide humanitarian aid to those who need it. Period. It's morally the right thing to do, and it's pragmatically better than letting people get so desperate that they'll do anything to get what they need. Bhutto says this all much better and more convincingly than I do, but she does get a bit "erudite," as my beloved put it. 5 stars for her passion, 3 for content (not bad for watery), and 2-3 stars for writing (clear, but I didn't sign up to listen to a textbook). This book isn't factually awesome enough for me to own it as a reference, but it's a great primer for people who are as culturally and politically oblivious as I was.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kaustubh Kirti

    As the name states the book is about three things Islam, democracy and the West. This book is a story that the Daughter of Destiny BEnazir wants to tell the West. The book is about what she wants to recount the West about her country, her people and her democracy. It seems towards the start that she tries to justify Islam and talks about the origins of jihandi movements and how it is probably the most un islamic thing to be done. However towards the end she really reached out to the West to unde As the name states the book is about three things Islam, democracy and the West. This book is a story that the Daughter of Destiny BEnazir wants to tell the West. The book is about what she wants to recount the West about her country, her people and her democracy. It seems towards the start that she tries to justify Islam and talks about the origins of jihandi movements and how it is probably the most un islamic thing to be done. However towards the end she really reached out to the West to understand them more than a country that harbors jihadists but a country that is trying to make democracy relevant in every kind of sense. This book is primarily for West audience. An Asian or an Indian might question the gross mis representation of facts and mis information (from India and world point of view). She starts the book with ISlam and the logic behind the successful religion. Pakistan being the torchbearer has been one of the successful supporters of ISlam. She then talks about democracy and why it is weak in Pakistan. Democracy she says is not just a form of government but a concept. The concept nurtures over time and becomes strong. Pakistan has faced coups and democracy one after the other for the past 50 years due to which the seeds of democracy are not still strong in the county. True to that. The underlying concept of democracy and the nurturing of democracy which she presents is true to the core. But she pushes the baton and the reason for numerous coups to India. IT was therefore India which probably forced 1965 and 1971 on Pakistan. At least being a lady of such stature BEnazir could at least acknowledge she need not look far to West to learn democracy. She has a 120 cr democratic nation sitting right next to her that is not even 70 years. Interestingly there is no mention of the world's largest democracy when you talk about democracy. Apart from the above discussion she talks about two other things in the book. One, story of Pakistan and two, what can west do to help Pakistan become great again. Part one has heaps of wrong information trying to derive at facts which are not particularly true. Critical statements that are blurred are the exact details of UN Resolution and 1971 SHimla agreement. There is just a sentence that her father agreed to a new international border - no elaboration and still she writes that Kashmir was a live subject. Sheikh MUjibur Rehman is shown the antagonist. How can west Pakistanis accept rule from Bengali? Language is not just unjust but racist. For a West audience it might seem Sheikh was conquering what was not his but he was a penchant of democracy. The book closes on a positive note of West to come and heal Pakistan. I think the book need a more India way. Benazir has tried to shy away from India but as a political leaders and a hardy democrat she should be the one to be reconciling India and Pakistan. I do not know how relevant the book is today. Today the dynamics is different from what it was in 2007. Democracy is there in Pakistan since two terms and the West looks at Pakistan with utmost scrutiny. This book is recommended for people who want to know who was BEnazir after all. Knowing the person and nothing more !!!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rahim

    I was born in Pakistan and lived there until age 16, and therefore, unlike many readers, I read this book from a different perspective and have a different take on it. Before I delve into the review, I just want to state that this book is not a biography of Benazir Bhutto. And even though the title explicitly states the obvious, I picked up this book expecting a life story of her. The focus of this book is about the education of sensitive topics about Islam and to provide a case for a secularism I was born in Pakistan and lived there until age 16, and therefore, unlike many readers, I read this book from a different perspective and have a different take on it. Before I delve into the review, I just want to state that this book is not a biography of Benazir Bhutto. And even though the title explicitly states the obvious, I picked up this book expecting a life story of her. The focus of this book is about the education of sensitive topics about Islam and to provide a case for a secularism and democracy in Islam. Above all else, this book shows how intellectual and visionary Mrs. Bhutto was, and how big of a loss is she for Pakistan. The first chapter begins with the narration of her story of coming back to Pakistan from exile and being attacked by her opposition. It is very heartfelt and I do not intend to spoil it here. The next chapter talks about terrorism and jihad and how these two terms are being misunderstood by many. The third chapter sheds some light on the western hypocrisy of how they claim to be the advocates of democracy, yet support undemocratic agendas behind closed doors. The fourth chapter, however, seemed a bit biased from her standpoint. The only major concern I have is her bashing of General Musharraf without taking into account the circumstances that led him to that stage. Besides this, the fourth chapter was actually my favorite. She gave an excellent crash course of the history of Pakistan from Mughal empire until the present day, a must read. The final two chapters talk about the internal clash within Islam: the two different ideologies of traditionalism and adaptable modernity. She gives her insight of what the future holds for the Islamic civilization, and what could be done to have a better future, not just for Muslims, but for the whole world. In conclusion, this book is a dry read; there were many pages that I skipped out of vapidity. However, it is necessary for us to read books, like 'Reconciliation,' to better understand one another and create a more progressive and tolerant society. I will end this review with a quoting a part of chapter 5 that I really liked, "... the real clash within and outside Islam is a battle between the past and the future. It is the resolution of this battle that will determine the direction not only of the relationship between Islam and the West but of international relations in this century. Without further delay, to break the chains and cycle of poverty, extremism, dictatorship, and terrorism, we need to move on the path towards true reconciliation."

  23. 5 out of 5

    Julie H.

    What an interesting book! While I've categorized it as a biography, it's really much more of an extended position paper from Bhutto to the world. In it, she wishes to make three main points. Those points are that: (1) while there is considerable diversity within Islam (as is true for any of the "big three" monotheistic faiths), in recent years it has been hijacked in a manner of speaking to achieve particular anti-Western political ends; (2) that Islam and democracy, the West, and modernity (esp What an interesting book! While I've categorized it as a biography, it's really much more of an extended position paper from Bhutto to the world. In it, she wishes to make three main points. Those points are that: (1) while there is considerable diversity within Islam (as is true for any of the "big three" monotheistic faiths), in recent years it has been hijacked in a manner of speaking to achieve particular anti-Western political ends; (2) that Islam and democracy, the West, and modernity (esp. technology) are not antithetical--with particular emphasis on the democracy variable; and (3) that Islam is very poorly understood in the West, sometimes because of its complexity but just as frequently because of western groups that wish to emphasize the extremist groups to meet their own political agendas (Ann Coulter, anyone?). Bhutto eloquently makes--and demonstrates with benefit of historic and recent examples--the point that, "All children of the Book have suffered from those who would use force in God's name to achieve political objectives" (p. 30). Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West is extremely ambitious in scope. Bhutto provides a wealth of background on Islam, on its history and the dynamic nature of Sharia law. The book gets a bit bogged down in the history of failed democracies across the globe--frequently as a combined result of post-colonial intervention by former colonizers with short-sighted goals of resource extraction (i.e., oil), fighting communism, and/or the war on terror. Despite the long middle bit (which really only seems long because she repeats herself a bit for emphasis), the book is well written, thoroughly researched and, above all the hope that it offers is a fitting testimony to this brave woman and the sacrifice that she, her family (husband remained in Dubai with their underage children so that if the worst happened they would still have one parent), the people of Pakistan and--indeed--the world have made. Sadly, Ms. Bhutto was assassinated just days after delivering her final edited manuscript of the book to her publishers. It's a highly provocative book by a remarkable human, and I thoroughly recommend it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sushila

    This book is divided into six chapters that are quite distinct. It's almost like reading six separate well-written articles. The first half of the book is fantastic. My favorite parts are when Bhutto analyzes Islam and the Koran and relates it to modern life. She is incredibly knowledgeable and it's refreshing to hear a modern person living in the outside world, as opposed to some hermetic cleric, offer her interpretations. The parts where Bhutto relates a brief history of Islamic nations, inclu This book is divided into six chapters that are quite distinct. It's almost like reading six separate well-written articles. The first half of the book is fantastic. My favorite parts are when Bhutto analyzes Islam and the Koran and relates it to modern life. She is incredibly knowledgeable and it's refreshing to hear a modern person living in the outside world, as opposed to some hermetic cleric, offer her interpretations. The parts where Bhutto relates a brief history of Islamic nations, including the origins of the Sunni/Shia conflict, are also excellent. I also enjoyed reading her perspectives of the West's involvement in predominantly Muslim countries such as Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan, and, of course, Pakistan. I think the first half of the book should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the relationship between western and Islamic nations. The second half the book shifts from the words of a scholar to those of a politician. Some of it is interesting, particularly when Bhutto describes the bombing that occurred when she first set foot in Pakistan in 2007 because it eerily portends her actual assassination months later. Still, compared to the excellent first half of the book, the second half lacks weight. Nevertheless, it all comes together as a wonderful, informative read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Shoaib

    Benazir Bhutto’s last book, “Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy & the West” just completed two days before her assassination, is both a personal and intellectual assessment of Islam and its relationship with the west. This book consists of 06 chapters, discussing several simultaneous problems faced by the Pakistan such as terrorism and extremism and the pressure of the world community at the global level to “do more”. Benazir Bhutto shares her evaluation and analysis of the Islamic History as she a Benazir Bhutto’s last book, “Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy & the West” just completed two days before her assassination, is both a personal and intellectual assessment of Islam and its relationship with the west. This book consists of 06 chapters, discussing several simultaneous problems faced by the Pakistan such as terrorism and extremism and the pressure of the world community at the global level to “do more”. Benazir Bhutto shares her evaluation and analysis of the Islamic History as she accounts how different groups and sects have developed over the time. Benazir Bhutto ideology throughout the book has been two-sided. At one end, she urges West to change her perception to Islam. On the other hand, she presented the model that, she believes, Muslim world should adopt. This book is a good read for those interested in Pakistan’s politics and history and helps to understand the thought process of the two-times elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. While reading the book, bear in the mind that the author is a left-wing politician having a strong ideology of liberalism and progressivism and holding a strong political affiliation, which many readers may not agree with her ideology.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lakshana

    For the larger part, this is one fine book. The writing is clear, crisp and eloquent. Particularly noteworthy in the text is Ms Bhutto's 1) call for mutual understanding, 2)refutation of Huntington's doom & gloom thesis and 3)(my favourite, peppered throughout)steadfast belief in the self determination of the Muslim world. My only contentions lie in 1) the political spin that is presented concurrent with any mention of her administration. While she was certainly far better for Pakistan than the d For the larger part, this is one fine book. The writing is clear, crisp and eloquent. Particularly noteworthy in the text is Ms Bhutto's 1) call for mutual understanding, 2)refutation of Huntington's doom & gloom thesis and 3)(my favourite, peppered throughout)steadfast belief in the self determination of the Muslim world. My only contentions lie in 1) the political spin that is presented concurrent with any mention of her administration. While she was certainly far better for Pakistan than the dictator-Generals, her pristine account of her administration should be taken with some grain of salt. 2) her erroneous treatment of democracy as a panacea. Certainly, democratic processes would be a great start within the Islamic world, but they MUST be bolstered by competent and democratic governance, and inculcation of more compromising attitudes towards the West/Israel/other faiths/other sects. Otherwise we will see fleeting democracies (Egypt) or the legitimization of nefarious elements (Hamas). All in all however, I do recommend this text. Even in 2014, some 6 years after its publication, it is still relevant. I suspect it will remain so for years to come.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

    best quotes: "...and even if the West bears responsibility for the lack of democratic political development in the Islamic world, at some point responsibility and accountability rest with us. If democracy is to take hold among the billion Muslims on this planet, the movement must come from our people standing up to the forces of extremism, fanaticism, and authoritarianism within our own societies." "We need a powerful, heavily networked international group aggregating activist women's groups throu best quotes: "...and even if the West bears responsibility for the lack of democratic political development in the Islamic world, at some point responsibility and accountability rest with us. If democracy is to take hold among the billion Muslims on this planet, the movement must come from our people standing up to the forces of extremism, fanaticism, and authoritarianism within our own societies." "We need a powerful, heavily networked international group aggregating activist women's groups throughout the Muslim world to create, in the title of Professor Wadud Amina's book and converence, an "international gender Jihad for women's rights"...[to:] help Muslim women to act as catalysts for a democratic socity that challenges the very dictatorship that breeds extremism." Right on!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Biggest revelation was that if Bhutto represents the 'moderate' view in the Islamic world, then we really do have a lot to fear. She does not place all the blame at the feet of the West but she repeatedly states that there is plenty of blame to go around, and she seems to spend more time talking about how the West has failed in its approach to the Islamic world than how the Islamic world had failed itself. It is nice to hear a non-American point of view, and whether all her truths are truths or Biggest revelation was that if Bhutto represents the 'moderate' view in the Islamic world, then we really do have a lot to fear. She does not place all the blame at the feet of the West but she repeatedly states that there is plenty of blame to go around, and she seems to spend more time talking about how the West has failed in its approach to the Islamic world than how the Islamic world had failed itself. It is nice to hear a non-American point of view, and whether all her truths are truths or just beliefs perhaps matters little considering how important perception is. The perception of the Islamic world to the West, rightly or wrongly, is that they have been repeatedly wronged and had little chance to direct their own future.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    A must-read for those who are open to understanding the history and challenges faced by Islamic nations . Benazir gave her life to forge democracy and equality in Pakistan. She uses the Koran to illustrate that democracy and Islam fit perfectly together, and that Islam is at its roots an accepting and pluralistic faith.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marwa Shafique

    A great and insightful book on how Islam and democracy are corelated and how much democracy is needed to flourish as a country. At a few places I did feel as if I was reading my 10th grade History book, and I probably would've enjoyed it more had I had a deep interest in politics and things alike. Nonetheless, I don't regret picking it up. A great and insightful book on how Islam and democracy are corelated and how much democracy is needed to flourish as a country. At a few places I did feel as if I was reading my 10th grade History book, and I probably would've enjoyed it more had I had a deep interest in politics and things alike. Nonetheless, I don't regret picking it up.

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