Book Reviews

Book Notes

Prince, Simon; Northern Ireland’s ’68; Irish Academic Press 2007.

This book gives a historical overview of the emergence of the Civil Rights movement in the Northern Ireland in the 1960s, giving, unusually for historians of the period, some credit to the work of Roy Johnston and his attempt to get the republican movement to ‘go political’ in the 1960s via the Civil Rights route; the latter subsequently joined Friends in 1982.

Emerson, Peter J:
we have here a series of books addressing the problem of majoritarian ‘democracy’ in tribal situations, as experienced in Northern Ireland, and more recently in Bosnia and elsewhere in political transition situations. The author is working towards a way of helping consensual democracy to evolve, perhaps in effect generalising Quaker experience; he is clearly someone to be cultivated in the Northern Ireland political context in situations where Friends can play a part in helping to maintain and develop the emergent non-violent pokitical culture.

Manji, Irshad;
in The Trouble with Islam makes an important contribution to the current process of developing an internal critical review of Islam from within. She is Canadian, of East African origin, and retains her Muslim identity while developing a powerful feminist argument for reform. I will not attempt a review, but simply give a few promotional quotes, all of which are, to my mind, valid comnment (RJ):

Friday Times (Pakistan): “Manji has in no way abandoned he Muslim identity… What exactly (she) is refusing to do is simple: she refuses to accept that Islam is a stagnant and unchanging structure”.

Philadelphia Inquirer: “One of the most hard-hitting analyses of Islam to appear since the 11 September attacks”, (German Internet pportal promoting dialogue with the Islamic world): “Irshad Manji breaks every taboo in the book, while also challenging our prejudices about Islam. What’s more, she does so as a Muslim, and not as a Westernised woman preaching from the pulpit of a feminist ivory tower.”

Her website contains reference material supportive of the book, and is worth a look.

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