Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Pagden adds that “most Muslim theologians and jurists would have to agree” with bin Laden. Such passages are bound to infuriate many, including those Muslims who see themselves as reaffirming a well-rooted Islamic tradition of diversity in opinion against a rising trend of rigid fanaticism. Pagden tends to treat Islam as a monolith; at one point he describes Islam as intellectually “simple.” Given Islam’s long and variegated history, not to mention its abstruse jurisprudence, many will disagree. It’s a good bet that “Worlds at War” will appeal more to admirers of Samuel Huntington’s thesis about the clash of civilizations, which Pagden calls “a crude but useful phrase,” than to fans of Edward Said’s book “Orientalism.”"