The past two years have seen an unprecedented amount of new literature appearing about Islam, particularly examining the terrorism associated with some of the Islamic groups. In spite of this, many opinions are formed on flimsy foundations. We are affected by the latest items on the news rather than understanding the bigger picture.
Catherwood has written a useful, easily digested book that examines Islamic viewpoints in an attempt to reflect on the recent events. His major point is that you cannot understand the actions of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda without understanding their social and historical contexts.
The author is an English academic, from a famous evangelical dynasty and married to an American. This combination of factors is reflected in the analysis. Although critical of certain aspects of American foreign policy, he argues that Islamic terrorism cannot find exoneration in the events of the past. It also helpfully enters into the debate that looks at Islam from a spiritual angle.
This is not a book that will immediately help you to directly engage with Muslims, but it will give you a helpful tool to analyse recent news reports so that you are more likely to understand why people react in certain ways. The world became more complicated after 9/11. Some reacted in vitriolic ways, others buried their heads in the sand. Christians can afford neither reaction, we need to think and understand. This book will enable you to do both.
Review written by Neil Hudson, Elim pastor & church consultant