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Since 1st March, 1999
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Bedevilled World By Azharul Islam Global Media, Rs 845

International politics tends to confuse so amazingly that the truth may not be able to come out for a long, long time. During World War II, it was the propaganda of anti-Semitism that the world had to endure. The Jews were at the receiving end then. Now, every morning people are served anti-Muslim rhetoric on their breakfast table by the all-powerful Western media working in tandem with their governments. Bedevilled World tries to make the reader conscious of this tormented world and its bleak present. But the book shows optimism about a better future, provided justice can be made available to all.

Since the twin towers tumbled down on that fateful day on September 11, 2001, the world has never been the same. But the tragedy did not end there; rather, it was the beginning of the end for the trust that had developed between the two great religions in the last century. The American government’s lack of foresight added to the mistrust. The Muslims were branded terrorists and their religion maligned for the actions of some misguided youths. Expectedly, the larger Muslim community felt hurt and bewildered by this.

A number of books have been written all over the world to counter the false and malicious propaganda against Muslims. Bedevilled World is one such that has taken up the responsibility of trying to set right the wrong notions being spread about the peace-loving people of Islam. The book tries to find out the root cause of terrorism and violence in the world. It dwells on the new policy of post-colonial colonialism that the United States of America is surreptitiously spreading throughout the world. It is also about Muslim nations and Islam, and tries to understand how global peace can be achieved in this time of unrest.

Azharul Islam, author and former vice chancellor of the International Islamic University in Rajshahi, Bangladesh, goes back in time to locate the source of antagonism in the colonial past. He also discusses America’s open support of the eviction of the Palestinians from the land of their birth by the Zionists for the creation of what is Israel today. The author considers this the primary cause for the continuation of violence in the Middle East. If the American administration goes on helping Israel achieve their objective of a Greater Israel by denying Palestinians access to their homeland, successive Arab generations would never be able to forget the loss of their motherland.

Apart from the turbulent Middle East, the book also takes into account the existence of global terrorism in different parts of the world, including India. The author points to the ugly faces of the terrorism practised by people of other religions. Basque separatists, the Irish Republican Army, the Ku Klux Klan and many other groups have terrorized Europe and America during the last century but they are not called ‘Christian terrorists’. In fact terrorism has nothing to do with religion. ‘Islamic terrorist’ is a misnomer, the author thinks, for in Islam it is forbidden to take innocent lives. “Truth should be separated from propaganda,” he says, “and the media can play a positive role in this matter.”

Azharul Islam quotes from different sources to establish that, till date, the Americans have killed more than 24,000 civilians in Afghanistan and more than 100,000 in Iraq. Both countries have been reduced to ruins because of the continuous bombing by the greatest military power of the world. A UN report speaks of 40,000 Iraqi deaths a year. The man in charge of the US Central Command has accepted that they “don’t do body counts” any more.

Out of the seven chapters in the book, three are devoted to answering questions about the negative image of Islam. The fundamentals of the religion, such as the meaning of jihad, the position of women in Islam, and the Quran are explained. Scholars may find a storehouse of information not only about the Muslim religion but also topics of contemporary political interest. But the printer’s devils play havoc in Bedevilled World and the book suffers from inconsistencies of style and editing errors.

Bedevilled World ends with discussions about the future of not only Muslims and Islam but also the entire human race. It advocates solutions for the Palestinian and Iraqi crises. America’s war on terror should be followed by a war on global injustice that exists not only in the Middle East but even in Africa and Asia, feels the author.

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