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The Monks of Tibhirine: Faith, Love, and Terror in Algeria [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

John W. Kiser
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Februar 2003
In the spring of 1996, armed men broke into a Trappist monastery in war-torn Algeria and took seven monks hostage, using them as pawns in a murky plot to free imprisoned terrorists. Two months later the monk's severed heads were found in a tree, their bodies were never recovered. The village of Tibhirine had sprung up around the monastery because it was a holy place, protected by the Virgin Mary who is revered by Christians and Muslims alike. But napalm, helicopters and gunfire had become regular accompaniments to the monastic routine as the violence engulfing Algeria drew close to the isolated cloister. These seven monks were martyrs to their Muslim neighbours, whom they refused to desert in their hour of need.


  • Taschenbuch: 352 Seiten
  • Verlag: Griffin; Auflage: St Martin's Gri. (Februar 2003)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0312302940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312302948
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 2,1 x 21,6 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 310.252 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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Few Americans heard about it, but the story gripped Europe (and especially France) during the summer of 1996: The mysterious kidnapping and murder of seven Trappist monks living in the Algerian village of Tibhirine at their monastery of Notre-Dame de l'Atlas. John W. Kiser III tells their story, or at least what parts of it can be known; much of what happened to them remains unclear, including the motives of their captors. Parts of The Monks of Tibhirine are grim, but this is an unavoidable fact of the case. The monks' bodies, for instance, never have been found--except for their heads. Kiser describes the scene: "The monks' desiccated faces, hollow eye sockets, and exposed teeth made them look like mummies." (Apparently they had been buried, then disinterred.) Readers looking for a nonfiction thriller won't find it on these pages, however. Much of the book is a history of monks living in Algeria, and much of the rest chronicles the good relationships the seven doomed monks shared with their Muslim neighbors. Their devotion to both their faith and their neighbors is inspiring; the way they died is abhorrent. --John Miller -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


"Kiser is the first American to have told the full story . . . What makes this book so unusual and yet useful for students is the way the author has combined solid research and profound analysis with compelling writing and personal engagement in the story. It is part mystery, part love story and part historical journalism of a very high order. There are precious few such books on the market. "The Monks of Tibhirine "brings together history, politics and stories of faith that is lived amid fear and violence in a style that is dramatic, inspiring and extremely educational. In this sense it is an excellent tool for teaching students about the Muslim world in which religion infuses life . . . This is an extraordinary story of the meeting of two peoples within the Abrahamic tradition who believed that, the violence notwithstanding, the destiny of all of them was to live together joined in charity and friendship. Kiser's book, as history and witness to faith, would be a valuable companion for many courses on religious studies, history and cultural studies of the Arab and Muslim worlds, but most of all for courses that seek to advance Christian Muslim understanding. I am going to be using it for my religion and conflict resolution course and am also recommending it as well to the Middle Eastern studies department."--Andrea Bartoli, Director, Center for International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University
"Well-written and extremely thoroughly researched . . . A valuable addition to the literature about modern Algeria, and I plan to recommend it to all officers going there on assignment . . . Its story is couched within the larger--and tragic--setting of the country, and one can learn a lot about the latter by studying this case study."--Peter Bechtold, Chair, Near East and North Africa, Foreign Service Institute
"Compelling . . . An exceptionally well-researched and deftly written account of the people and events involved in the tragedy."--Colman McCarthy, g -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

In diesem Buch (Mehr dazu)
From a certain angle, the Basilica of Notre Dame d'Afrique looks like a giant camel on its haunches, contemplating the Aleppo pine- and eucalyptus-covered hills that form an amphitheater around the port of Algiers. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen
5.0 von 5 Sternen Die Mönche, der Mut und der Tod. 5. Oktober 2010
Ein intelligentes, nuanciertes und packendes Buch über Leben einiger Trappistenmönche in Algerien. Die Geschichte dieses Landes in der zweiten Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts, blendend recherchiert und und erzählt. Dazu die Geschichte der Mönche ,ihr schlichter und selbstverständlicher Einsatz für die Menschen des Landes und der tragische Tod, den einige von ihnen durch die Hände von Extremisten erlitten. Das Leiden der gemäßigten und toleranten Dorfbewohner wird ebenso dargestellt wie der Wert der Freundschaft und der Mut für seine Überzeugungen einzustehen.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.4 von 5 Sternen  40 Rezensionen
50 von 52 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen spiritual power 15. März 2002
Von gary m. hamburg - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The story of Kiser's book is deceptively simple: in 1996 a small group of Christians from a Trappist monastery in Algeria was kidnapped, then murdered by Islamic extremists. The book explains how the Trappists came to Algeria, why they remained there under conditions of great personal danger, how they earned the admiration of hundreds of Muslims from all over Algeria, and why they became in 1996 a convenient target of Islamists. These elements of the story are reported by Kiser in clear, sensitive, sometimes moving prose.
The deeper theme of the book is the prospect of a modus vivendi between Christians and Muslims. Kiser makes the case that living together in community may be possible for those religious peoples with an expansive, inclusive understanding of their faiths. He thinks that the Trappists had such a large, attractive vision of Christianity, and he points out that certain large-hearted Muslims met them half-way. At the end of the book, Kiser speaks of the nineteenth-century Muslim leader Abdel Kader as the heroic model for Muslims who want simultaneously to adhere to their own traditions of worship and to reach out to righteous Christians.
Kiser's book is thought-provoking, right-minded, even lofty in its hopes for the future. I must say, however, that the evidence discussed by Kiser can be read in another way -- namely, as an indication that the differences between Christianity and Islam are so vast that even saintliness cannot bridge them.
For those interested in Algeria, in Islamism and disciplined spiritual life this book is a must.
28 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Tragic and Hopeful 8. August 2002
Von A. Ross - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This excellent book manages the remarkable task of juggling three important themes at once: the touching personal stories of a community of Trappist monks in Algeria, an uplifting investigation of what it means to be a true Christian and "live the Gospels", and finally an unraveling of the confusing and depressing story of Algeria's civil war. The framework for Kiser's book is the sad and unheard (in the US) story of the kidnapping and subsequent murder of seven Trappist monks in 1996 by a group of Islamic extremists. Using a myriad of French-language sources, including the diaries and journals of several of the monks and their personal letters, as well as interviews with family members and friends, and a trip to the monastery in Algeria, Kiser has crafted an fine work of history.
This history is built on his excellent presentation of contextual material. Clear prose takes the reader through brief histories of the formation of the Cistercian order, the Trappist schism, the history of Christianity in Algeria, French colonialism in Algeria, the Algerian revolution, the disastrous rule of the FLN, the rise of the Islamist movement, and the current civil war. Interwoven is the story of the monastery at Tibhirine in the Atlas Mountains and the friendship between the monks and their Muslim neighbors. Most of the French monks had some personal connection to Algeria (several had done military service there), and all felt that their calling demanded that they live a simple life amongst non-Christians, displaying the power of their faith through good works. Kiser takes a great deal of effort to highlight the areas of common ground between the inclusive Christianity of the monks and the Islam of their neighbors. He is also scrupulous in highlighting how the version of violent Islam that plagues Algeria arose from a combination of economic desperation and the influence of those who fought in Afghanistan against the Soviets and returned with Saudi backing to spread Wahabi Islam. Indeed, as Kiser points out, despite the horrific killings of the last decade, there was never a legitimate fatwa (religious decree) issued condoning the killing of noncombatants. While the story of the monk's deaths is certainly tragic, their tale also contains a definite sense of hope for future reconciliation.
18 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen compelling and provocative 21. Juli 2002
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Kiser has written a compelling and inspiring account that humanizes the tragedy of the monks of Tibhirine and of the Algerian civil war more generally. What I find particularly impressive is Kiser's refusal to exploit the subject matter, and his determination to dig below the surface level and take the drama of events to a deeper level. He provides the necessary information to situate the drama of the monks within a much larger context of politics, history, and culture, and finds hope in the midst of suffering. Kiser is aware that there are two rights and too many wrongs in Muslim-Christian relations. He affirms that, by remembering what is _right_ on both sides of the cultural divide, we can find sufficient energy, resolve, and inspiration to build bridges of understanding between two estranged religious and cultural traditions.
I would recommend this book to anyone who shares Kiser's desire to truly _understand_ what has "gone wrong" and what might "go right" in Muslim-Christian relations. If used in an academic classroom environment, Kiser's well-researched and thoughtful prose narrative would provide valuable supplementation to more standard textbook treatment of Muslim-Christian relations and the modern Middle East.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A story "faith, love, and terror" - martyrdom of the monks of Tibhirine 24. März 2011
Von P. Nugent - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
In 1996 seven French Catholic monks in Algeria were kidnapped and killed. That fact raises a number of questions: Why were the French monks in Algeria? Why were they kidnapped and why were they killed? John W. Kiser answers those questions in a manner that is at once captivating and complete.

The monks, members of the Trappist order, lived in a monastery at Tibhirine, Algeria. Kiser does a superb job of explaining why these particular monks had a renewed commitment to live among Muslims and the mutually supportive relationship that grew between the monastery and Islamic community. He presents the developing attitude of the insightful and courageous young prior of the community, Fr. Christian, toward Islam from his service in Algeria as a French army officer to his return as a Trappist monk. The author's presentation of how Fr. Christian led his confreres in developing their commitment to stay in Tibhirine in the face of threats from terrorists and the pleading of Algerian government officials to leave is also satisfying.

Kiser provides a thorough explanation of the periodic terrorist attempts to force France to cede government of the country to the indigenous Muslims that developed into the rebellion that included the kidnapping and murder of the monks. The intrigue among the local activists is excitingly offered.
Throughout the book Kiser presents individual testimony of the monks and stories of their daily lives, making the book an intimate journey. His thumbnail sketch of each of the characters in the story enables the reader to become personally involved with the Trappist community.

"The Monks of Tibhirine" reads like a story, rather than as a documentary or newspaper account. It is eventful and engaging and inspiring. It is a story of modern martyrs and their "faith, love, and terror" which is the subtitle of the work. An excellent companion work is "How Far to Follow?", the parallel telling of the story written by Bernardo Oliveria O.C.S.O., Abbot General of the Trappist order, who had been personally involved with the monks of Tibhirine.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A beautiful book! 10. November 2002
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
The story of these trappists who died in Algeria in 1996 is a remarkable one that is told very well by the author. It is rare that such a sad event, the kidnapping and decapitation of these good, harmless men can generate such a feeling of hope and optimism. I lost a lot of my prejudices against Muslims reading this book. What a good and hospitable people most of the folk were. I cannot ever forget the reaction of the imams, refusing to condone such a murder, and even suffering death themselves rather than issue fetwas against innocent people. What a wonderful witness to the gospels these men showed. They were good neighbors who didn't deserve this kind of death. But none of the muslim victims of these terrorists deserved it either. The death of the monks brought attention to all the nameless people who had already died. And finally, I cannot read Christian de Cherge's final testiment without crying at the beauty of it: The forgiveness, the fraternal love shown even to his murderer. I will pray with brother Christian that, as he said, one day he and his murderer will meet with forgiveness before God, two good thieves.
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