Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World
Journalist Robin Wright tells of a "counter-jihad" – a rebellion of the young and hip – now hitting the Muslim world.
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Not only do democracy and freedom offer most individuals in the Middle East a more attractive path than that of religious politics or autocracy, but young Muslims in particular are openly rebelling against the stultifying ways of their parents. The late scholar Samuel Huntington predicted soon after 9/11 that the Islamic world’s youth bulge – a full one-third of the entire Arab world is between the ages of 15 and 29 – would be a source of terrorism for years to come. “Young males are the principal perpetrators of violence in all societies:Skip to next paragraph
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[T]hey exist in over-abundant numbers in Muslim societies,” Huntington wrote in Newsweek. Wright in this book shows how those very youths are proving to be just the opposite – they are liberal torchbearers, attracted to freedom of expression and democracy rather than violence and dictatorship. “Stirred by the young and stoked by new technology, rage against both autocrats and extremists has been building steadily within Muslim societies,” she writes. New technologies and sky-high unemployment have combined with unfulfilled promises to cause great discontent among the Middle Eastern young.
Cumulatively, Wright’s book career works as a short history of modern Islamic ideologies. “I sometimes feel as if I’ve finally reached the climax – although not the end – of an epic book that has taken four decades to read,” she writes, aptly. Beginning with the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the story of the Muslim Middle East seems to be taking on a decidedly different twist. The tale is not yet over, however, and “Rock the Casbah” confirms Wright’s status as one of our best storytellers.