Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

My Brother, My Enemy: America and the Battle of Ideas across the Islamic World

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

My Brother, My Enemy: America and the Battle of Ideas across the Islamic World

Article excerpt

My Brother, My Enemy: America and the Battle of Ideas across the Islamic World. By Philip Smucker. Amherst, NY : Prometheus Books, 2010. 364 pp. $26.

My Brother, My Enemy, being true to its namesake, takes a fraternal, even emotional, approach to understanding the conflict between the United States and the Muslim world, based on the author's travels and interviews in the Middle East

While Smucker, a foreign journalist for publications including U.S. News and World Report and Time, appears sincere in his search for peaceful solutions, he is ultimately too ideologically driven for this book to have much value. All the classic leftist bromides appear here: The notion of an"Islamo-fascist" movement is "a mirage, a false specter created out of our own fears" ; with proper cooperation, Hamas might "morph into something far more peaceful in the future"; a two-state solution will not only solve the ArabIsraeli conflict, it will destroy al-Qaeda and radicalism; Fort Hood killer Nidel Kasan is misunderstood and was primarily motivated by a sense of moral outrage.

Smucker's biases are sometimes more subtle: In a paragraph describing the worship of Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Jerusalem, the last are portrayed straightforwardly while lessthan-dignified depictions are reserved for Christian pilgrims "huffing and perspiring fanatically" and Jews who "bob up and down" at the Western Wall. …

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