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Publisher's Summary

Eye-opening accounts of heroic resistance to religious extremism. In Lahore, Pakistan, Faizan Peerzada resisted being relegated to a "dark corner" by staging a performing-arts festival despite bomb attacks. In Senegal, wheelchair-bound Assatou Ciss produced a comic book to illustrate the injustices faced by disabled women and girls. In Algeria, publisher Omar Belhouchet and his journalists struggled to put out their paper, El Watan ("The Nation"), the same night that a 1996 jihadist bombing devastated their offices and killed 18 of their colleagues. In Afghanistan, Young Women for Change took to the streets of Kabul to denounce sexual harassment, undeterred by threats. In Minneapolis, Abdirizak Bihi organized a Ramadan basketball tournament among Somali refugees to counter the influence of Al Shabaab.

From Karachi to Tunis, Kabul to Tehran, across the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and beyond, these trailblazers often risked death to combat the rising tide of fundamentalism within their own countries. But this global community of writers, artists, doctors, musicians, museum curators, lawyers, activists, and educators of Muslim heritage remains largely invisible, lost amid the heated coverage of Islamist terror attacks on one side and abuses perpetrated against suspected terrorists on the other. A veteran of 20 years of human rights research and activism, Karima Bennoune draws on extensive fieldwork and interviews to illuminate the inspiring stories of those who represent one of the best hopes for ending fundamentalist oppression worldwide.

©2013 Karima Bennoune (P)2013 Audible, Inc.

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    4 out of 5 stars

good alternative view but disappointing

I'll just jump to the what I found most irritating. The author is very specific about how she refers to islamic terrorists being 'fundamentalists' and frequently refers to 'westerners' such as george bush as a 'christian fundamentalist' as if the 2 are some sort of immoral equivalents. She complains frequently about the west pitting one islamic extremist organization against another for the west's own gains as if the extremist groups would otherwise just go away if we were just more vocally and financially supportive of women's rights in the middle east. She addresses essentially nothing about how instructively, how inherently violent the koran is, stating that 'her' islam, the 'islam she knows', is peaceful. That's a nice thought but this seems to be a deliberate obfuscation of a material problem with the religion. She is also not afraid of hiding her disdain for the israeli government asserting that the israeli's purposefully target innocent palestinians. It was though interesting to hear her perspective and nice to hear about the many many peaceful muslims, although their fully inadequate efforts to reign in the 'fundamentalists' is disappointing, particularly when there are so few examples of muslim 'moderates' standing up physically to muslim 'extremists' in any sort of meaningful way. She seems to think, in a typically liberally utopian way, that peaceful islam can show up and win a knife fight with an abundance of friendly conversation about women's rights. Her support for secular government structures was also very encouraging to hear. Perhaps this is due to my impression that 'her islam' was more important to her because of tradition and culture rather than due to any religious or spiritual reason.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very educational, thought-provoking and inspiring

This is an amazing book. I learned so much and you get a true feeling of what liberal, peace-loving activists struggle with in the fight against fundamentalism. It is so inspiring and absolutely worth the read. The author delves into so many facets of the struggle that you have a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the problem. Unbiased and extremely informative. Must read!