Books Reviewed in Al-Hewar Magazine

Moghrabi's Olives, by Deborah Rohan
The Wisdom of the Arabs, by Dr. Suheil Bushrui
Landmark Text on Arid Land Development, by Dr. Safei-Eldin Hamed
Islam and Secularism in the Middle East, edited by Azzam Tamimi and John Esposito
Invisible Enemy: Israel, Politics, Media, and American Culture, by Edward Abboud
Is Jihad a Just War? War, Peace and Human Rights Under Islamic and Public International Law by Hilmi M. Zawati
Islamic Banking & Finance in the Kingdom of Bahrain, The Bahrain Monetary Agency, Editors

Moghrabi’s Olives

Moghrabi’s Olives, by Deborah Rohan [Writer’s Showcase (an imprint of iUniverse, Inc.), Lincoln, NE, 2001, soft cover, 427 pp.] is a beautifully written book. Although written as a novel, it tells the true story of one Palestinian family’s love for their land and for each other.  Beginning at the last days of the Ottoman Empire, this compelling book chronicles the Moghrabi family’s constant battle to keep the land they owned and cultivated for centuries, struggling against Turkish, then British domination, and the final blow of Zionist occupation and Diaspora.  You will cherish the characters in this family, who are sympathetic, brave, and possess an integrity as deep as the roots of their olive trees.

The beginning of each chapter contains a real quote from a Zionist leader, documenting the Zionists’ methodical approach to wresting the land from the Palestinians whom they tacitly acknowledge had owned and cultivated the land for centuries and had an established, developed, and flourishing civilization, in contrast to the “making the desert bloom” myth propagated by the Zionists.

Moghrabi’s Olives is lyrical and poignant and will help many people understand the terrible suffering of the Palestinian people over the last 100 years.  Indeed, it should be made into an epic movie to tell the story of this family – and countless other Palestinian families – that have been so long ignored or misunderstood. Moghrabi’s Olives is incredibly timely, and should be read by anyone who truly wants a balanced and accurate understanding of the terrible conflict in the Middle East.  To order Moghrabi’s Olives, visit

The Wisdom of the Arabs
by Dr. Suheil Bushrui

Characterized by learning, spirituality, and a turbulent history, Arab culture is a rich source of perennial wisdom, expressed through a diverse range of literature and poetry, both religious and secular.

The Wisdom of the Arabs, by Dr. Suheil Bushrui, draws on this vast spectrum of writings, from classical literature and the holy Qur’an, to traditional folk sayings and the more recent wisdom of the legendary Kahlil Gibran. Thought-provoking and engaging, these passages offer advice on everything from the demands of daily life to the path toward leadership and the search for the divine. Offering a combination of practical and spiritual wisdom, as well as a deeper insight into the joys, sadnesses and passions of the Arab peoples, this little treasury will provide nurture and nourishment for readers of all backgrounds.

Dr. Suheil Bushrui is a leading authority on Arabic and Lebanese literature, and an expert on the Lebanese-American poet, Kahlil Gibran.  He is currently Professor and Director of the University of Maryland Kahlil Gibran Research and Studies Project, and the author of numerous books and articles on a variety of subjects including Arabic, Anglo-Irish and English Literatures.

The Wisdom of the Arabs, scheduled for release in March-April 2002, will be number eleven of the “Oneworld of Wisdom” Series published by One World Publications 

Dr. Safei-Eldin Hamed Produces
Landmark Text on Arid Land Development

Safei-Eldin Hamed is a scholar of international development and environmental planning. His new book, Landscape Planning for the Arid Middle East: An Approach to Setting Environmental Objectives [The Edwin Mellen Press, 2002, 260 pp.] provides a new perspective on the development of arid lands.  “This book opens up new vistas for planning  and managing our natural resources and is essential reading for students of environmental planning and  management and development studies,” said Dr. Mohamed El-Ashry, CEO and Chairman of Global Environment Facility in Washington, D.C.  

Chapters of the book include: The Nature of Landscape Planning Objectives; The Process of Setting Objectives; From Problems to Objectives: Challenges of Developing the Arid Middle East; Key Development Projects in the Arid Middle East; Conceiving, Designing, and Managing a Landscape Planning Objectives System; and Summary and Discussion.  There is also a reference section and an index.

Landscape Planning for the Arid Middle East is a notable addition to the handful of  important texts that blends the past, the present, and the future of one of the most challenging  environments” faced by man, said Dr. Mohammad Kassas, Professor Emeritus at Cairo University adding that Hamed offers “an approach that is…highly  sophisticated and rational...” 

Dr. Hamed is currently on the faculty of Texas Tech University. He has taught at various universities in North America and the  Middle East and served as consultant for several national and international organizations. To order Landscape Planning for the Arid Middle East, contact The Edwin Mellen Press, Order Fulfillment Dept., P.O. Box 450, Lewiston, NY 140092-0450.

Esposito and Tamimi Take on Islam and Secularism 

Western civilization tends to view secularism as a positive achievement, including the separation of church and state, the rule of law, and freedom from organized religion.

In the Arab Middle East, however, Islamist intellectuals increasingly cite Western-inspired secularism as the source of the region’s social dislocation and political instability. While secularism in the West led to the spread of democratic values, in the Muslim world it has been associated with dictatorship, the violation of human rights, and the abrogation of civil liberties.

Islam and Secularism in the Middle East [New York University Press: New York, NY. Paperback, 2000, 295 pages], edited by Azzam Tamimi and John Esposito, examines the origins and growth of the movement to abolish the secularizing reforms of the past century by creating a political order guided by Shariah law. Contributors explain the Islamic rejection of secularism as a failed Western Christian ideal and also discuss how secularization was pioneered by those who thought Muslims could only advance politically by emulating Western practices, including the renunciation of religion.

Azzam Tamimi is Director of the London-based Institute of Islamic Political Thought and writes on Islam and Middle East Issues.  John Esposito is Professor of Religion and International Affairs and Professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University, where he also directs the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding. Contributing authors include John Keane, Peter Berger, Abdelwahab Elmessiri, S. Parvez Manzoor, Rachid Al-Ghannouchi, Heba Raouf Ezzat, Munir Shafiq, Abdelwahab El-Affendi, and Ahmet Davutoglu. The book may be purchased and excerpts read at

Edward Abboud Takes on Israeli Invasion of American Society

In his daring new book Invisible Enemy: Israel, Politics, Media, and American Culture [Vox Publishing Co., LLC, Reston, Virginia, 2001, 284 pp. (paper)], Edward Abboud presents an excellent, very detailed and thought-provoking analysis of Israeli influence over the American psyche, through its control of American government, media, and popular culture.

He provides detailed information about everything from how much money Israel extracts from the U.S. every year (approaching $12 billion annually), to how Zionist lobbies control government officials, to how the publishing, broadcast and film industries are designed to perpetrate anti-Arab, anti-Muslim stereotypes and unquestioned support for Jews and Israel.

The book includes two very interesting and informative chapters about the history and techniques of propaganda and conspiracy, and shows how the supporters of Israel have capitalized on these techniques to gain almost complete and unquestioned control over American society. 

Supported by mountains of documentation, Abboud’s arguments are convincing, and, frankly, cause for alarm.  This is a well-oiled machine that has been in place for a long time and has effectively disarmed any opposition to it.  Anyone who dares to speak out is swiftly and deftly dealt with.  People are labeled the ever-handy “anti-Semite,” careers are ruined, and worse.  Even Jews who protest these tactics and the goals behind them are neutralized with terms such as “self-hating”.

The only odd thing about this book is Abboud’s blanket dismissal, in very unflattering terms, of the entire Arab diplomatic community. Although Abboud provides exhaustive documentation to support all of his other premises, he provides no concrete examples to support his claims against the Arab diplomatic corps and makes no distinction between effective and ineffective diplomats.

Other than that anomaly, Invisible Enemy is a direct, no-holds barred, take-no-prisoners investigation of Israel’s destructive control over America to the point that the United States constantly makes decisions and takes actions that are contrary to its own interests.  The book leaves us feeling almost hopeless, but it nevertheless should inspire us to work even harder to bring back a sense of equanimity to American society. As tragic as recent events have been, they also provide us with an opportunity to promote a more balanced, honest perspective.  Never has there been so much interest in the Arab and Islamic world, but it is up to us to capture as much media exposure as possible to portray Islam and Arab culture in their true light.  To order Invisible Enemy on-line visit <>.

Hilmi Zawati Illuminates Concept of Jihad

Is Jihad a Just War? War, Peace and Human Rights Under Islamic and Public International Law by Hilmi M. Zawati [Edwin Mellen Press, 2002] is designed to answer the many misconceptions that surround the concept of Jihad, which, of course, is especially timely in the current climate. The author explains the purpose of the book in his Foreword:

The word Jihad may be one of the most misinterpreted terms in the history of Islamic legal discourse. In the last two decades or so, particularly in the aftermath of the Islamic revolution in Iran, the birth of various Islamic resistance movements, and the end of the Cold War era, misconceptions of Jihad and the consequent branding Islam as the “new enemy”, have become a hotly debated issue in Western literature.

 “The idea of this book crystallized after careful examination and analysis of a considerable number of recent scholarly and journalistic works on the concept of war in Islamic legal theory. Most of these works, which are generally speaking descriptive and polemical, have distorted their representations by relying heavily on misleading stereotypes and, at best, a number of minor secondary sources. The result has been a distortion of the term Jihad to the point where it is virtually synonymous in the public mind with terrorism.

 “The fictive constructs of these works were built on general misconceptions, wrong assumptions, and political bias. Many of the earlier authors, who engaged in the study of Islamic legal theory, judged Islamic law according to their own Western values and failed to read or understand classical Arabic; the language of the primary sources of Islamic law… As well, authors failed utterly to distinguish between Islamic law and the contemporary legislation of Muslim nations, which is in general not Islamic.

“… the purpose of this book is to investigate, analyze and critically examine the theory of war under Islamic and public international law. The chief aim of this work is to counter the distorted image of Jihad and to demonstrate that Jihad is a just, defensive and exceptional form of warfare, geared to the maintenance of peace and the protection of human rights for all people, regardless of their race, sex, language or religious belief…

“…the Lewis-Huntington’s theory of ‘Islam’s bloody borders’ is inadequate and groundless. In contrast, the present study points out that Islamic international law considers the right to life as the most basic and supreme right, and one which human beings are entitled to enjoy without distinction of any kind…

“It is hoped that this intercultural dialogue on one of the most complicated and controversial issues facing mankind today will provide an authentic analysis and interpretation of the norms of both Islamic and international public law based on its primary sources… and foster a better understanding…”Is Jihad a Just War? can be ordered on-line at <>.

Islamic Banking in Bahrain

Islamic Banking & Finance in the Kingdom of Bahrain [Arabian Printing Press, Bahrain: 1423 H/ 2002 AD, The Bahrain Monetary Agency, Editors], provides a detailed account of the origins, history, and principles of Islamic banking in Bahrain, which is now considered to be the financial and banking capital of the whole Arabian Gulf region.  The book also provides a directory of Islamic banks in Bahrain. 

The Kingdom of Bahrain pursues a dual banking system, where Islamic banks operate side by side with their conventional counterparts.  The emergence of Islamic banks in the Kingdom drew on the same environment that led to the development of Bahrain as an international financial center.   Islamic banking rules are based on the Shariah and differ from conventional banking practices.  Nevertheless, all banks in Bahrain share the same rights and opportunities.

The birth of Islamic banking services in the Kingdom of Bahrain dates back to 1978 when Bahrain Islamic Bank was established.  Islamic banking in Bahrain gained momentum in the early 1980s, with the issue of four new licenses, including an offshore banking unit license and investment banking licenses.  The Islamic banking community in Bahrain now includes 28 banks and a number of support agencies, including the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance. 

More information may be obtained from the Website of the Bahrain Monetary Agency at

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