Is There an Islamic Problem?

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Essays on Islamicate Societies, the US and Israel
By M. Shahid Alam

In the aftermath of September 11th, a pre-emptive strike was launched long before cruise missiles and cluster bombs found their way into the villages and cities of Afghanistan and Iraq. Demonizing Islam with the full force and fury of powerful media outlets and think tanks, the Right first struck ideological blows by twisting and contorting the history, development, aspirations, and grievances of Islamicate societies, therefore setting up the skewed framework from which every justification for their war plan was launched. In his new book, Is there an Islamic Problem?, M. Shahid Alam exposes and demolishes this framework with what Noam Chomsky lauds as a "careful and serious analysis" informed by a "deep understanding of the cultural and economic history of Islamic and European societies."

Editorial Reviews
"M. Shahid Alam's enterprise of forcing 'the legacies of history' into 'the daylight of consciousness' in the West is informed by deep understanding of the cultural and economic history of Islamic and European societies, and of influential contemporary scholarship and debate. The analysis is careful and serious, and will be of considerable value to anyone concerned with the crucial and timely issues that Alam addresses, whether they come to agree with his conclusions or not." - Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics, MIT, USA

"In this original work, Shahid Alam confronts the problem of power with exceptional candor and courage. His is an eminently sane voice that is moral without being squeamish, pragmatic without being defeatist, and Islamic without relinquishing the reins of history. A highly cogent, enlightening and liberating vision of contemporary politics and morality!" - S. Parvez Manzoor, Muslim critic, Sweden

"M. Shahid Alam is a truth-teller and powerful writer. Without fear, and in defiance of all attempts to censor him, he explains to us the origins of our present dangerously deteriorating situation. Read these essays and you will come away with a level of awareness that you cannot get from the world's corporate media." - Lawrence Davidson, Professor of Middle East History at West Chester University

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About the Author

M. Shahid Alam is Professor of Economics at Northeastern University, Boston. His writings have appeared in leading economic journals, including American Economic Review, Cambridge Journal of Economics and Kyklos; in newspapers and webzines, including,, Al-Ahram, Dawn, Holiday, Asia Times, and Outlook India; in literary journals, including Chicago Review, Marlboro Review and Beloit Poetry Journal. His last book was Poverty from the Wealth of Nations (Macmillan, 2000). Alam has been repeatedly attacked for his writings in a variety of ways that have included hate e-mails, spoofed e-mails, massive spams, and most serious of all, pressure on Northeastern University to fire him.