Jihad in the West
Jihad is back, says Paul Fregosi, but this current incarnation has a long history behind it. From the start, Islamic fundamentalism has intended to expand the Muslim religion to encompass the entire world through conversion, or, in many instances, violence. Yet until now it has lacked a general historical narrative: "The jihad has been the most unrecorded and disregarded major event of history," writes Fregosi. Jihad in the West attempts to describe the history of Islamic and European conflict over 1,500 years, including moments such as the climactic battle at Tours (if the Moors had won it in 732, much of Europe might be Muslim today), the sieges of Vienna, and the Barbary Corsairs (the battle U.S. Marines refer to when they sing about "the shores of Tripoli"). Such a sweep necessarily sacrifices detail for breadth, yet it still provides a helpful backdrop to understanding a religious movement that has played a prominent role in late-20th-century terrorism. Many Muslims will quarrel with Fregosi when he compares jihad to a Christian sacrament, and the book would benefit from footnotes. Jihad in the West nevertheless is a good introduction to an often-ignored topic. For more on the history and origins of the concept of jihad, see also Reuven Firestone's Jihad: The Origin of Holy War in Islam.
Editions (via Amazon):