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Saturday, May 19, 2007

From today's Irish Times

On the Road to Kandahar: Travels through Conflict in the Islamic World
Jason Burke
Penguin, £8.99

British journalist Jason Burke is better qualified than most to comment on Islam, having spent 15 years travelling around and reporting from places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Morocco. In this enlightening account of those travels, Burke forcefully conveys to us just how incomprehensibly complex and varied the so-called "Islamic World" actually is. Beginning with his own experiences fighting with Kurdish rebels at the end of Desert Storm, right through to 9/11, Afghanistan and, of course, the disastrous invasion of Iraq, Burke analyses the religious, cultural and political histories of various regions of the Middle East and beyond in a clear, thoughtful and, most admirably, respectful manner. Burke's riveting reportage reminds Western readers that this endlessly contradictory "Islamic World" will continue to defy easy categorisation and easy answers. - Declan Cashin

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