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How to Win a Cosmic War: Confronting Radical Religion [Kindle Edition]

Reza Aslan
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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

“[A] thoughtful analysis of America’s War on Terror.”
The New Yorker
 
“Offers a very persuasive argument for the best way to counter jihadism.”
The Washington Post

“[Reza] Aslan dissects a complex subject (terrorism and globalization) and distills it with a mix of narrative writing, personal anecdotes, reportage and historical analysis.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“Aslan is not only a perspicuous, thoughtful interpreter of the Muslim world but also a subtle psychologist of the call to jihad.”
Los Angeles Times
 
“[A] meaty analysis of the rise of Jihadism . . . dispels common misconceptions of the War on Terror age.”
San Jose Mercury News
 
“It is Aslan’s great gift to see things clearly, and to say them clearly, and in this important new work he offers us a way forward. He is prescriptive and passionate, and his book will make you think.”
—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion

Werbetext

Acclaimed author Reza Aslan dissects two of the most devastating ideologies of our times - Jihadism and the 'War on Terror'.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Unbedingt lesen! 3. September 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Das Buch ist nicht nur ungeheuer interessant und in seinen Analysen immer wieder verblüffend und erhellend, sondern auch so gut geschrieben, dass man es nicht wieder aus der Hand legen will. Aslan analysiert die Hintergründe des »kosmischen Krieges« der Jihadisten und beschreibt sehr eindringlich und überzeugend, wie sich diese Haltung entwickelt hat und was dahinter steckt. Dabei erledigt er die populären Mythen über den Islam und die muslimische Welt in großen Büscheln, aber nicht durch bloße Polemik oder die allzu übliche weichgespülte – gut gemeinte aber realitätsferne und darum wenig wirksame – "Der Mensch ist gut"-Rhetorik, sondern durch die überzeugende Darstellung von Fakten und den Zusammenhängen zwischen ihnen. Wer ernstlich an diesem brisanten Thema interessiert ist, wird nicht umhin kommen, Aslans Buch zu lesen und seine gründliche und behutsam abgewogene Argumentation in Zukunft zu berücksichtigen. (Sehr bedauerlich – aber wohl nicht zufällig –, dass es von diesem Buch keine deutsche Übersetzung gibt.)
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Amazon.com: 4.2 von 5 Sternen  93 Rezensionen
75 von 81 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Bringing the Cosmic War Back to Earth 27. Juni 2009
Von Timothy Haugh - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
With his second book, How to Win a Cosmic War, Reza Aslan has solidified his place as the voice of moderation in the battles of Christian vs. Islam. As an American-born Muslim, he has insights for his fellow citizens about the history and perspective of those whose hearts and minds we are trying to win in the Middle East.

Unlike his previous book, No god but God, which was more of a history lesson in Islam for those of us in the West, this book focuses more specifically on the issues of fundamentalism and terrorism with which we are dealing today. He describes the growth of radical groups throughout the twentieth century. He shows how the idea of jihad was perverted by certain Muslims and what that means for us today.

Ultimately, he is trying to convince us to take what is too often articulated as a "cosmic war" (often unthinkingly) and bring it back down to earth. The terrorists we battle are dangerous because they don't have attainable, negotiable goals. The overthrow of the West, worldwide Islamic rule--these are not likely to happen and are certainly not things we can negotiate. This rhetoric elevates their struggle to the cosmic plane. The image becomes one of Good vs. Evil, God vs. Satan. Yet, when we allow ourselves to echo this rhetoric and inflame tensions by using words like "crusade," we are fighting a cosmic battle, not a real one. Cosmic battles cannot be won. Mr. Aslan reminds us that only by focusing on real, attainable goals can we make progress and reduce terrorism. By changing the "real world" around the terrorists for the better, they cannot recruit. There will always be radicals, but they are criminals, not warriors, however they see themselves.

Mr. Aslan has a rare point-of-view. Perhaps it arises from the mistrust he often feels all around--some Americans don't trust him because he is a Muslim of Middle Eastern decent and Middle Easterners don't trust him because he's American. But this perspective gives him an amazingly reasonable view of our world and he is often right on target. He has a tendency to be over-generous in his judgments sometimes--he is optimistic about everyone--but he is fair. That is a point-of-view we can use more of in our world.
63 von 72 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Cosmic War 17. Januar 2010
Von Margaret Magnus - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
So unlike what most of the detractors here claim, this book is not an apology for terrorism. Its essential point, as the the title suggests, is that if we accept the battle as defined by the Jihadists -- as a cosmic war-- then it is unwinnable, and pursuing it on those terms will inevitably distance us from the Muslim world.

My sense is that Aslan's most fundamental allegiance is to the Muslim world, which he would like to see become democratic, but that he genuinely believes in the American dream as well and wants to be one with it. He is doing his best to make a positive contribution toward a better world by describing the world through his eyes, and he is not stupid. His description of the young jihadist mindset as acting out of misguided love rather than hate - was subtle, accurate and brave, and a real contribution to the discussion. He does a good job of explaining the difference between Jihadists vs. Islamists, and why we fail to understand the dynamic between them at our peril. I think he describes the wound so effectively, because he is wounded himself, and that in itself doesn't diminish the book.

But in failing to overcome the wound, he fails to convince the unconvinced. In what follows, I overemphasize the negative. The book is mostly fair, and he has a point, but I'm trying to explain what will set people off. He is upset that Western countries don't have more toleration for Muslim cultures, despite the fact that the degree of toleration they do display would be unthinkable in many Muslim majority countries. Consider:

"Even in Europe and the developed world, the idea of secular nationalism was problematic. That is because membership, or rather citizenship, in the nation-state requires submission to the state's sovereignty over all aspects of life. Max Weber's axiom that the state is the entity that claims monopoly on the legitimate use of force has proven a woefully inadequate description of the nearly absolute powers claimed by even the freest and most liberal nation-state. The modern state holds a monopoly not only on force, but also on identity. It assumes meticulous control over every aspect of social life, both private and public. It is the primary repressive force for controlling human impulses. It declares what is and what is not proper religious or political expression. It demands consent over all activity - social, sexual and spiritual. Above all, it decides who can and cannot share in the collective identity it has itself demarcated. The state's sovereignty over life and death is absolute and unavoidable." (p.21)

This paragraph does not represent my experience of life in America, (though despite adding `and the developed world', I realized later that he was really talking primarily about Europe). At our founding, a great deal of thought was put into the rights of subcultures and the separation of powers. Subcultures whose laws do not conflict with the Constitution, like the Orthodox Jews and the Amish, have maintained their way of life within our borders for hundreds of years. Later in the book, I realized he was talking about the mindset of the European Generation E from whom the Jihadists spring. But it could also be an argument for tolerating subcultures whose laws are inconsistent with the Constitution of the land, and whose members are subjected to those alternative laws against their will. The case of Muslim women who want to live Western lives and who cannot break out has proven to be a problem in Europe. The European court must have jurisdiction in those cases or society collapses.

Other examples:
* He says that the Islamists and Jihadists who gathered to repulse the Soviets in Afghanistan were a diverse lot, and in other contexts emphasizes (correctly) the diversity in the Muslim world. But why aren't there 30 diverse Chinese or Christian or European extremist groups who can be recruited into a program of mudering everyone who isn't Chinese or Christian or European?
* He talks about European Islamophobia -- how it's time they got over it considering regions in Holland are nearly half Muslim. Why does he not in this context address the fact that the immigration goes all one way? Would the inverse situation in Esfahan be handled more equitably? He attributes it offhandedly several pages later to de-colonization, but that doesn't explain the explosion of Muslim populations in the Germanic countries - certainly not Scandinavia. I feel that if he is to convince Europe, he needs to address more effectively both Muslim culpability for their own situation and the the emotion a Frenchman has for la République.
* In his discussion of American Christianity, he describes evangelical Christians as extremists on a par with Jihadists, and then says that evangelicals make up about 50% of the American population, which may be true, because mainstream Methodists and Congregationalists are (I believe) evangelicals. The mainstream American Christian is left after this section feeling, "Wait a minute."
* He sometime indulges in name-calling. Oriana Fallaci is a pseudo-liberal. Geert Wilders is worse. I think Fallaci is at least as articulate and incisive as he is, though quite a bit more prone to pull punches. Rather than insulting her back, I'd like to see him address her point by point in a fair-minded way.
* Early in the book, he offhandedly dismisses the notion that these bands of transnational terrorist riff-raff have any real military power. Later on, he correlates them with the Zealots of the first Century who were easily crushed by the Romans. What bothers me about this analogy is that the hydrogen bomb had not been invented yet in 70 AD. I kept waiting in vain for him to mention the word `atom'. Some reasonable people like his beloved Obama appear to be far more concerned than he about big bombs in the hands of riff-raff. He's not sensible enough to the fact that Hitler was democractically elected riff-raff, and that that figures into Western calculations.

Anyway after all that whining, I want to conclude by recommending the book, especially if you have a different view, because I think he's a good and intelligent man, and I think you'll learn something worth learning.
23 von 24 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Read this book instead of five others 6. September 2009
Von Muhammad A. Syed - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Reza Aslan has done remarkably well in explaining the philosophy that drives Islamist terrorism. How collective guilt is assigned and collective punishment is justified. How the apparent injustice of killing innocent civilians and innocent children is explained away.

These ideas have been touched on by others as well (like Fawaz Gerges), but Aslans book connects the dots between different ideas and puts them together to make sense.

The war on terror cannot be won by bombs. This is an ideological war. It requires a different approach.
51 von 66 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror 30. April 2009
Von Aphrodite D. Navab - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I finished reading Reza Aslan's "How to Win a Cosmic War" yesterday when the WHO, World Health Organization, raised the level of influenza pandemic to five. In my mind, both Albert Camus' "The Plague" and the orange alerts raised by the Homeland Security's "War on Terror" collapsed into one war waged against our deepest fears.

Against this landscape, both real and imagined, Aslan's book speaks volumes. Through a critical analysis of the violence committed in the name of religion and renamed as politics from Judaism, Christianity to Islam, Aslan contends that the "War on Terror" cannot be won, for it is a cosmic one at the level of ideology. No armies, no nations, no treaties can solve a war between good and evil. Rather, Aslan posits, an honest, down to earth, and diplomatic discussion of the grievances is what is necessary. Not in the heavens of religion nor invention, could a cosmic war be won.

Aslan's astute analysis and conclusion comes at a crucial time when we need to imagine alternative ways of interaction than to demonize and dichotomize. Only by refusing to fight one, by bringing disputes to the flesh of the real, of the terrestrial, can we begin to have a real conversation. By reading "How to Win a Cosmic War," one takes a profound step towards beginning this dialogue.
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Cosmic War 30. Juli 2013
Von Margaret Magnus - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Taschenbuch
So unlike what most of the detractors claim, this book is not an apology for terrorism. Its essential point, as the the title suggests, is that if we accept the battle as defined by the Jihadists -- as a cosmic war-- then it is unwinnable, and pursuing it on those terms will inevitably distance us from the Muslim world.

My sense is that Aslan's most fundamental allegiance is to the Muslim world, which he would like to see become democratic, but that he genuinely believes in the American dream as well and wants to be one with it. He is making a positive contribution toward a better world by describing the world through his eyes, and he is not stupid. His description of the young jihadist mindset as acting out of misguided love rather than hate - was subtle, accurate and brave, and a real contribution to the discussion. He does a good job of explaining the difference between Jihadists vs. Islamists, and why we fail to understand the dynamic between them at our peril. I think he describes the wound so effectively, because he is wounded himself, and that in itself doesn't diminish the book.

But in failing to overcome the wound, he fails to convince the unconvinced. In what follows, I overemphasize the negative. The book is mostly fair, and he has a point, but I'm trying to explain what will set people off. He is upset that Western countries don't have more toleration for Muslim cultures, despite the fact that the degree of toleration they do display would be unthinkable in many Muslim majority countries. Consider:

"Even in Europe and the developed world, the idea of secular nationalism was problematic. That is because membership, or rather citizenship, in the nation-state requires submission to the state's sovereignty over all aspects of life. Max Weber's axiom that the state is the entity that claims monopoly on the legitimate use of force has proven a woefully inadequate description of the nearly absolute powers claimed by even the freest and most liberal nation-state. The modern state holds a monopoly not only on force, but also on identity. It assumes meticulous control over every aspect of social life, both private and public. It is the primary repressive force for controlling human impulses. It declares what is and what is not proper religious or political expression. It demands consent over all activity - social, sexual and spiritual. Above all, it decides who can and cannot share in the collective identity it has itself demarcated. The state's sovereignty over life and death is absolute and unavoidable." (p.21)

This paragraph does not represent my experience of life in America, (though despite adding `and the developed world', I realized later that he was really talking primarily about Europe). At our founding, a great deal of thought was put into the rights of subcultures and the separation of powers. Subcultures whose laws do not conflict with the Constitution, like the Orthodox Jews and the Amish, have maintained their way of life within our borders for hundreds of years. Later in the book, I realized he was talking about the mindset of the European Generation E from whom the Jihadists spring. But it could also be an argument for tolerating subcultures whose laws are inconsistent with the Constitution of the land, and whose members are subjected to those alternative laws against their will. The case of Muslim women who want to live Western lives and who cannot break out has proven to be a problem in Europe. The European court must have jurisdiction in those cases or society collapses.

Other examples:
* He says that the Islamists and Jihadists who gathered to repulse the Soviets in Afghanistan were a diverse lot, and in other contexts emphasizes (correctly) the diversity in the Muslim world. But why aren't there 30 diverse Chinese or Christian or European extremist groups who can be recruited into a program of mudering everyone who isn't Chinese or Christian or European?
* He talks about European Islamophobia -- how it's time they got over it considering regions in Holland are nearly half Muslim. Why does he not in this context address the fact that the immigration goes all one way? Would the inverse situation in Esfahan be handled more equitably? He attributes it offhandedly several pages later to de-colonization, but that doesn't explain the explosion of Muslim populations in the Germanic countries - certainly not Scandinavia. I feel that if he is to convince Europe, he needs to address more effectively both Muslim culpability for their own situation and the the emotion a Frenchman has for la République.
* In his discussion of American Christianity, he describes evangelical Christians as extremists on a par with Jihadists, and then says that evangelicals make up about 50% of the American population, which may be true, because mainstream Methodists and Congregationalists are (I believe) evangelicals. The mainstream American Christian is left after this section feeling, "Wait a minute."
* He sometime indulges in name-calling. Oriana Fallaci is a pseudo-liberal. Geert Wilders is worse. I think Fallaci is at least as articulate and incisive as he is, though quite a bit more prone to pull punches. Rather than insulting her back, I'd like to see him address her point by point in a fair-minded way.
* Early in the book, he offhandedly dismisses the notion that these bands of transnational terrorist riff-raff have any real military power. Later on, he correlates them with the Zealots of the first Century who were easily crushed by the Romans. What bothers me about this analogy is that the hydrogen bomb had not been invented yet in 70 AD. I kept waiting in vain for him to mention the word `atom'. Some reasonable people like his beloved Obama appear to be far more concerned than he about big bombs in the hands of riff-raff. He's not sensible enough to the fact that Hitler was democractically elected riff-raff, and that that figures into Western calculations.

Anyway after all that whining, I want to conclude by recommending the book, especially if you have a different view, because I think he's a good and intelligent man, and I think you'll learn something worth learning.
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