Bhutto and the Future of Islam

Fareed Zakaria in the New York Times Book Review:

Screenhunter_01_apr_05_1019There are explanations for her lack of achievement — the military establishment gave her little room and maneuvered against her constantly — but still one cannot help but notice the gap between ambition and action that haunted Bhutto for most of her public life.

With the publication of “Reconciliation,” Bhutto has — alas, posthumously — closed that gap. Written while she was preparing to re-enter political life, it is a book of enormous intelligence, courage and clarity. It contains the best-written and most persuasive modern interpretation of Islam I have read. Part of what makes it compelling, of course, is the identity of its author. People have often asked when respected Muslim leaders would denounce Islamic extremism and articulate a forward-looking and tolerant view of their religion. Well, Bhutto has done it in full measure. And as the most popular political figure in the world of Islam — for three decades she led the largest political party in the second largest Muslim country — she had much greater standing than the collection of reactionary mullahs, second-rate academics and unelected monarchs who opine on these topics routinely, and are accorded far too much attention in the West. In fact, Washington should arrange to have the portions of the book about Islam republished as a separate volume and translated into several languages. It would do more to win the battle of ideas within Islam than anything an American president could ever say.

More here.