Native Apologist

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A snippet from my review of Irfan Husain’s Fatal Faultlines: Pakistan, Islam and the West:

The Global War on Terror has spawned a cottage industry of commentators and “experts,” who simply repackage the American public’s commonly held beliefs and serve it back to them: The Muslims are crazy, they hate America (and each other), and America is a force for good. Husain primarily posits himself as an internal critic of Islam, but also offers some tepid critiques of the US. This double maneuver gives him more credibility with his readers: He is fair and balanced. Suspended outside the context of power-relations, such “balance” serves to efface the violence that is imperialism. Besides, who better to provide apologia for the American Empire than an “authentic,” Muslim voice? Since the US has the largest military in the world, “it is inevitable that it has assumed the role of world policeman.” “Its economic and financial interests are so far-flung that it needs to maintain a global military presence.” The cop, however, is hated even by law-abiding citizens. (p54) Empire is thus America’s cross to bear for “mankind’s progress” – the White man’s burden for the 21st century, if you will.


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