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A cosmic war is a religious war in which God is believed to be directly engaged on behalf of one side against the other. The hijackers who attacked America on September 11, 2001, thought they were fighting a cosmic war. According to award-winning writer and scholar of religions Reza Aslan, the United States, by infusing the War on Terror with its own religiously polarizing rhetoric, is also fighting a cosmic war—a war that can’t be won.
Beyond Fundamentalism is both an in-depth study of the ideology fueling al-Qa‘ida, the Taliban, and like-minded militants throughout the Muslim world and an exploration of religious violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. At a time when religion and politics increasingly share the same vocabulary and function in the same sphere, Aslan writes that we must strip the conflicts of our world of their religious connotations and address the earthly grievances that always lie behind the cosmic impulse.
How do you win a cosmic war? By refusing to fight in one.
"In this provocative and engaging book, Reza Aslan shows why he is one of America's leading analysts of the confusing and frightening forces that confront us. It is Aslan's great gift to see things clearly, and to say them clearly, and in this important new work he offers us a way forward. He is prescriptive and passionate, and his book will make you think."— Jon Meacham, author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
“‘Terror’ is never going to show up with a pen to sign a peace treaty ending the "War on Terror." The use of that phrase has created a black hole into which serious talk about serious topics—including, by all means, Islam but also Christianity and Judaism--has disappeared. Reza Aslan's elegant, incisive book breaks the spell cast by "the emperor's new talk" and signals that the conversation the world has been waiting for may at last be about to begin.”—Jack Miles, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of God: A Biography
"Reza Aslan's is an indispensable voice with an urgently needed message. His book reaches across a world chasm that too many regard as unbridgeable - with balance, eloquence, and rare wisdom."—James Carroll, author of Constantine's Sword and Practicing Catholic
“Reza Aslan’s Beyond Fundamentalism hovers confidently over a vast historical terrain, landing where it must to explore how common and terrible apocalyptic thinking is—how it plagues every religious tradition, every inspired nationalism, and cannot be defeated with brute force, upon which it thrives. A unique primer for pragmatic leaders whose patient enlightenment is the real antidote to terror.”—Bernard Avishai, author of The Hebrew Republic and The Tragedy of Zionism
“[A] thoughtful analysis of America’s War on Terror.” —New Yorker
“Offers a very persuasive argument for the best way to counter jihadism.”—Washington Post
“Insightful, well-argued . . . Beyond Fundamentalism tracks the history of antiestablishment thinking in the Islamic world.”—Daily Beast
“[Reza] Aslan dissects a complex subject (terrorism and globalization) and distills it with a mix of narrative writing, personal anecdotes, reportage and historical analysis.”—San Francisco Chronicle
"Aslan is not only a perspicuous, thoughtful interpreter of the Muslim world but also a subtle psychologist of the call to jihad.”—Los Angeles Times
“[A] meaty analysis of the rise of Jihadism . . . dispels common misconceptions of the War on Terror age.”—San Jose Mercury News