Islam


  • The Field of Blood by Nicholas Morton

    The Field of Blood by Nicholas Morton

    Nicholas Morton’s new book on the formative years of the Crusader states is a delight on multiple levels. The Field of Blood: The Battle for Aleppo and the Remaking of the Medieval Middle East provides an illuminating survey of the Levantine region in the period immediately after the Christian Frank incursion, when Jerusalem was the…

  • Making Moderate Islam by Rosemary R. Corbett

    Making Moderate Islam by Rosemary R. Corbett

    Nobody seemed to care that an upscale Islamic community center was being proposed for lower Manhattan until 2010 when Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post christened it “The Ground Zero Mosque”. Sporting its new sobriquet, the proposed project made the familiar leap from scandal rag to cable news to becoming a fetish in America’s culture war.

  • The Story of Reason in Islam by Sari Nusseibeh

    The Story of Reason in Islam by Sari Nusseibeh

    As a Westerner for whom the intellectual history of Islam is something of a mystery, reading Sari Nusseibeh’s timely and sweeping new book was like swimming on the surface of an unfamiliar ocean. This delightful survey is packed with intriguing details of what the giants of Islamic thought struggled with and argued about, but ultimately…

  • Kai Bird’s Crossing Mandelbaum Gate

    Kai Bird’s Crossing Mandelbaum Gate

    While doing background reading on the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, I came across Kai Bird’s poignant and insightful account of his childhood as the son of American consular officials who served in Israel and Palestine, and who later moved their family to a new assignment in Saudi Arabia in the mid-60’s and early…

  • Inside an Islamic document restoration facility on al Haram al-Sharif

    Inside an Islamic document restoration facility on al Haram al-Sharif

    On a recent trip to Jerusalem, I got an unexpected and fascinating tour of a facility just steps away from the Dome of the Rock that is dedicated to restoring old Islamic documents. My host was my new friend Mouhannad, whose family was graciously assisting me with my research and who works as a document restorer in…

  • Fred Donner and the Early Days of Islam

    Fred Donner and the Early Days of Islam

    One of the pleasures I’ve discovered in time I’ve spent so far on my current project is meeting interesting people, and also discovering how generous some people can be with their time and expertise. This was brought home to me most recently when I met Fred Donner, a distinguished scholar of Islam and of Near…

  • Reading Fields of Blood while watching Charlie Hebdo

    Reading Fields of Blood while watching Charlie Hebdo

    I know the sorrow I feel for those murdered in Paris – the creative artists, their colleagues and those killed trying to protect them – is shared by a massive international host who revere the norms of civil society and are shocked by the barbarity of the assailants. The attacks were nothing if not an…