Assessing claims about 'global jihad'

By Ben White
19 Feb 2009

A review of: Patrick Sookhdeo, Global Jihad: The Future in the Face of Militant Islam (Isaac Publishing,VA, USA, 2007) - http://tinyurl.com/bob3rx

Since September 11 2001, there has been a huge growth in the number of books that seek, in different ways, to explain and analyse the phenomenon of high-profile violent attacks by extremist Islamist groups. This trend has been mirrored in the Christian publishing industry, with many books now available in the average Christian bookshop on Islam, terrorism, and Christian-Muslim relations.

Patrick Sookhdeo straddles both worlds, as both sought after expert in the mainstream media, as well as a popular author and speaker in British (and increasingly US) Christian circles. In more recent times, Sookhdeo has also worked for the British Military of Defence, NATO, and the US military as an advisor and lecturer.

Sookhdeo is the founder and director of the Barnabas Fund, a British-based Christian charity that seeks to support the persecuted church, particularly in Muslim-majority countries. He is also the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity (ISIC) and in recent years has frequently appeared in the likes of the Daily Telegraph and Spectator, either as an author in his own right or quoted in pieces – particularly on British Muslims.

Global Jihad, with the subtitle ‘The future in the face of militant Islam’, sets out to “examine the facets of Islamic faith which motivate so many men and women of violence” and “form the driving force for Islamic terrorism”. Sookhdeo also hopes to suggest “practical responses” for non-Muslims which can help to win “the long war against Islamic violence”. Sookhdeo’s first words are uncompromising: “Radical Islam has declared war on the West” (page 8).

Before going any further, it is worth emphasizing that Sookhdeo is a man who deserves a fair hearing, and Global Jihad, with its extensive notes, research, and comprehensive sweep is a significant work that offers substance where many in this area only offer froth. Sookhdeo’s experience and position of influence means that familiarity with his work is a necessity.

All that said, Global Jihad is compromised – perhaps fatally – by significant problems that are all the more serious given Sookhdeo’s position and considerable knowledge. I intend to divide these concerns into three broad categories.

Read the rest of the article here: http://tinyurl.com/dke6z5

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This detailed review has also been reproduced on the bridge-building evangelical website Fulcrum, and a discussion about the issues it raises is taking place there: http://tinyurl.com/byeeoc

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(c) Ben White is a freelance journalist and writer. His articles on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Middle East, and Christian-Muslim relations have appeared in a wide variety of media outlets, including Ekklesia. Visit his website at www.benwhite.org.uk

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