In early 2002, Samuel Huntingdon, Francis Fukuyama, and 58 other prominent American intellectuals — brought together by the Institute for American Values — released an open letter making the moral case for the war against terrorism. Unbeknownst to most Americans, the letter generated a powerful international response. Replies and rejoinders from Islamists, professors, and clerics appeared in newspapers and on websites around the world, giving rise to a truly international debate on terrorism, Islam, and U.S. policy. Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy, called this ongoing exchange "the most effective initiative to influence opinion in the Arab world since 9/11."
Now, for the first time, The Islam/West Debate brings together the discussion's key texts in English and makes them available to the public.
The volume includes some highly important contributions from the Arab and Muslim world. Among them are a response by two of Saudi Arabia's most powerful clerics and 151 Saudi intellectuals; a letter by al-Qaeda's "media arm" entitled "Please Prostrate Yourselves Privately" criticizing Saudi intellectuals for even engaging the West in dialogue; a letter from the Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia, a leading Saudi dissident group; a letter reputed to have be penned by bin Laden himself; and, responses from several well-known liberal Muslims. Writings by pacifist German intellectuals and left-leaning American academics are also included in the volume.
These pieces grapple with some of the most important issues of our time — namely, the roots of terrorism, America's role in global affairs, and the problem of securing justice in a globalizing world.
This fruitful exchange has inspired several Muslim and American scholars to establish a formal dialogue project under the auspices of the Institute for American Values. Named The Malta Forum this dialogue initiative is a glimmer of hope for increased mutual understanding in this divisive time.
A chronicle of one of the most important discussions of our time, The Islam West Debate will be a valuable and captivating resource for both specialists and average readers. It is a "must-have" for anyone interested in the current state of Muslim-U.S. relations.
The Islam/West Debate (299 p.p., ISBN 0-7425-5007-9) is co-edited by David Blankenhorn and Alex Roberts of the Institute for American Values, Abdou Filali-Ansary of the Aga Khan University in London, and Hassan I. Mneimneh of the Iraq Memory Foundation.
Copies of The Islam/West Debate are available from the Institute for $25. To order a copy, please download this order form (pdf, 1pg). You may also place an order with your credit card by telephone by calling 212.246.3942.