Academic journal article Military Review

Building Moderate Muslim Networks

Academic journal article Military Review

Building Moderate Muslim Networks

Article excerpt

BUILDING MODERATE MUSLIM NETWORKS, Angel Rabasa, Cheryl Benard, Lowell H. Schwartz, and Peter Sickle, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA, 2007, 216 pages, $30.00.

Building Moderate Muslim Networks is both refreshing and thought provoking in its examination of the tough work needed to achieve democratic transformation in the Muslim world. It avoids the twin pitfalls of demonizing Muslim nations and denying the social and political differences between those nations and ours.

The book's authors provide an overview of the "war of ideas" going on in the Muslim world, criticize the shortsighted U.S. approach to this "war," and call for a clear long-term policy. While President George W. Bush's "Freedom Agenda" sees democratization in the Muslim world as an antidote to terrorism, Bush's vision has not translated into a cohesive plan. The authors advocate a strategy that begins with the periphery: Southeast Asia and the Muslim Diaspora in Europe, areas more amenable to moderate thought. They define "moderate," "Islamist" and "civil society," and apply these definitions in assessing the state of the Muslim world today. …

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