Islam Through Western Eyes by Jonathan Lyons
From the Crusades to the War on Terrorism

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Despite the West's growing involvement in Muslim societies, conflicts, and cultures, its inability to understand or analyze the Islamic world threatens any prospect for East–West rapprochement. Impelled by one thousand years of anti-Muslim ideas and images, the West has failed to engage in any meaningful or productive way with the world of Islam. Formulated in the medieval halls of the Roman Curia and courts of the European Crusaders and perfected in the newsrooms of Fox News and CNN, this anti-Islamic discourse determines what can and cannot be said about Muslims and their religion, trapping the West in a dangerous, dead-end politics that it cannot afford.

In Islam Through Western Eyes, Jonathan Lyons unpacks Western habits of thinking and writing about Islam, conducting a careful analysis of the West's grand totalizing narrative across one thousand years of history. He observes the discourse’s corrosive effects on the social sciences, including sociology, politics, philosophy, theology, international relations, security studies, and human rights scholarship. He follows its influence on research, speeches, political strategy, and government policy, preventing the West from responding effectively to its most significant twenty-first-century challenges: the rise of Islamic power, the emergence of religious violence, and the growing tension between established social values and multicultural rights among Muslim immigrant populations.

Through the intellectual "archaeology" of Michel Foucault, Lyons reveals the workings of this discourse and its underlying impact on our social, intellectual, and political lives. He then addresses issues of deep concern to Western readers—Islam and modernity, Islam and violence, and Islam and women—and proposes new ways of thinking about the Western relationship to the Islamic world.

About Jonathan Lyons

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Jonathan Lyons spent twenty years as a foreign correspondent and editor for Reuters, much of it in the Islamic world. His research focuses on the shifting boundaries between East and West, and his publications include The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization and (with Geneive Abdo) Answering Only to God: Faith and Freedom in Twenty-first-Century Iran. He has a doctorate in sociology and lives in Washington, D.C.
Published February 7, 2012 by Columbia University Press. 274 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Islam Through Western Eyes

Publishers Weekly

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This scholarly if sometimes overly pedantic book presents a well-researched and referenced case that “the West’s ‘conversation’ with Islam has always been a one-sided affair, essentially a dialogue with itself, revealing much about the subject but little or nothing about the object in que...

Oct 24 2011 | Read Full Review of Islam Through Western Eyes: F...

The Boston Globe

According to Jonathan Lyons, author of “Islam Through Western Eyes: From the Crusades to the War on Terrorism’’, an ossified, immutable “anti-Islam discourse’’ has been propagated over the centuries by a diverse relay team of elite opinion-makers whose most obvious manifestation has become the se...

Jan 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Islam Through Western Eyes: F...

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Jan 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Islam Through Western Eyes: F...

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