Original Articles

Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic lllusion of an Islamic State – by Tarek Fatah

The LUBP is pleased to present for the benefit of our readers a PDF of Tarek Fatah’s book Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic lllusion of an Islamic State (2008). The book is dedicated to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and Daniel Pearl and is a passionate effort against the Islamists who have destroyed our country.

Here is the link to the book:

Tarek Fatah 2008 – Chasing a Mirage: The tragic illusion of an Islamic state – The book

Editorial Reviews

“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

About the author

Abdul Nishapuri

9 Comments

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  • Great work……Its a valuable addition to our blog for our visitors and all those concerned Pakistanis who want to understand the threat of Islamofascism and Terrorism…

  • Very Good book ,We need more literature like this in Urdu .In Print and Media no one has courage to write and say against Jamatized ideology

  • The most helpful favorable review vs The most helpful critical review

    The most helpful favorable review
    A compelling rejoinder to extremists, May 27, 2008
    By Ali Inayatullah

    This recently published book is a blunt assessment of the root causes of extremism that are experienced in muslim communities. The auther pulls no punches and his extensively researched book is a gripping read.

    Tarek explodes the myth of a “Golden age” that has become the rallying cry of Islamists, who want to impose their political ideology of Caliphate on both muslims and non-muslims. He has thrown the gauntlet to fellow muslims to reflect and educate themselves. From Sudan to Saudi Arabia, the author painstakingly highlights the clash between muslims who aspire to the spiritual message of their faith and the Islamists who want to warp faith for gaining political power. He has also covered in significant detail, the struggles of moderate and secular muslim Canadians against radical and Saudi/Irani funded Islamist groups who want to drag the failed experiments of their patrons into Canada; experiments that are a leading cause of ghettoizing and separation of muslims from non-muslims.

    In exposing the dishonesty and moral bankruptcy of the Islamist agenda, the author has done extensive research and highlights that the harsh, backward and intolerant injunctions that have been sanctified as law by extremists wither and collapse when placed under the microscope of objective scholarship. A significant section of his book examines the struggle for political power and the sectarian schism that immediately followed the Prophet’s death. This is scholarship that few muslims can openly discuss and which has already resulted in the targetted killings of minority muslims in Pakistan. His analytical approach to this sensitive and seldom discussed chapter of muslim history is unlikely to solve the Sunni-Shia polemics. However, his analysis and research on this topic should be studied as they highlight the ultimate fallacy of the Islamist demand for an “Islamic” State.

    In a frank assessment of history and culture of different muslim communities, Tarek untangles and delineates political compulsions from theology. From Abu Zar, the companion of the Holy Prophet and the first muslim social activist and a central Sufi personality to the courageous example of Sudan’s Mahmoud Mohamed Taha, Tarek highlights the example of those who stood up against political opportunism and stood by their principles. He calls on fellow muslims to inculcate an introspective, dynamic and spiritual “State of Islam” within themselves instead of sinking further in the trap of extremists who want to drag them along in their theocratic nightmare.

    …..

    The most helpful critical review

    Recommended but I have my own reservations. All in all, a good work

    May 1, 2008
    By Winston “Iran Blogger/Activist”

    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 Mr. Fatah does not appreciate. He probably doesn’t know 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 and leave it at that. Kurds consider themselves more Iranian in the Iranian national context than Kurds. Yes, they’re proud of their heritage but Iran is not a country like Iraq or Jordan or other ex-British Empire possessions. It’s always been independent and never been colonized and parts of the Kurdistan that happen to be in Iran have always been Iran’s. Turkish or Iraqi Kurdistan were rather TAKEN AWAY from Iran during the Safavid dynasty. However, no body from the state of Iran did not go and occupy Kurdistan. The case for Kurdistan of Iran is very different. Yes, they are oppressed and harassed but they are not occupied… So I don’t understand what Mr. Fatah would like to imply there. Kurdish provinces of Iran like Ilam, Kurdistan, Kermanshah and Azerbaijan e Gharbi have been parts of an independent, strong and united Iran since Persia was founded several thousands of years ago. I don’t know where he got the 80 years from. World War I didn’t take any part of Iran away. The end of the Great War saw the foundation of states like Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Persian Gulf sheikhdoms et al but it didn’t have any territorial impact on Persia/Iran. Mr. Fatah fails again to present an evidence to prove his point on that matter. He just rants there to prove his valid point that Muslims have been silent about their own atrocities.

    Moreover, Mr. Fatah doesn’t seem to understand the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It’s not about land or water or even pure nationalism. It’s never been. Whenever it has been about land, i.e Egypt’s Sinai and Jordan’s claims, the parties have managed to come to a peaceful agreement and Israel have given those lands back to the claimants. Palestinians on the other hand would like to see all the Jews driven out of their lands. When in 1948, they were asked to claim independence just like the Israelis, they refused. They want the entire place. Well, it doesn’t work like that. It’s also not historically correct to say that Muslims were peaceful before the death of Muhammed and became violent when he died and the (ever non-existent) peaceful Islamic leadership was also buried with him. Mr. Fatah fails to mention the mass killings of Jews of Bani-Qorayze’e clan or the killings that Muhammedans did when returned triumphant back to Mecca after 13 yrs of exile in Medina. Islam, in its core, is not as peaceful as Mr. Fatah claims it to be. The intolerance has always been part of the culture that embodied it and did spread the religion of Islam from Indonesia, Persia to the shores of Spain, Balkans and France. Again, that’s part of history of the world and a matter of great discussion. But I would like not to forget the crimes done in the name of Islam from day one.

    All in all, this book is something like a job that takes courage to be done as it tries to explore new ways of discussion on the possibility of reforming Islam. It is a good work/attempt by a voice of sanity and reason. The rather impossible task of reforming the religion of Islam will ultimately be done by the likes of Mr. Fatah and hopefully, he’ll be able to see the day when his faith is reformed and civilized. I still recommend it to the western readers, with some reservations though.

    Source: Amazon.com

  • Chasing a Mirage The tragic illusion of an Islamic state, this book has indeed contributed to the efforts of those who want to save Pakistan from these extremists.

  • India and Pakistan both face a common enemy that is the terrorist. It is important for us to understand we can not get rid of them unless we promote a tolerant society and be united with eachother. They take advantage of our rivalry and strike.

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