Bernard Lewis is Cleveland E. Dodge Professor of Near Eastern Studies Emeritus at Princeton. His most recent books are Music of a Distant Drum and What Went Wrong: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response. (May 2002)

In the Finger Zone

The Promised Land is defined by its frontiers and then by its abundant if basic food supply—“a land flowing with milk and honey.” The Lord’s Prayer deals with eternal truths, and with one practical request—for “our daily bread.” The pagan ancient Greeks, imagining the life of the immortals on Mount …

The Enemies of God

Recent events in parts of the Muslim world have revived memories of the Islamic revolution in Iran, and aroused fears that more such revolutions may be in preparation and new Islamic fundamentalist regimes about to emerge, with similar consequences both at home and abroad. Western observers in particular recall with …

In Search of Islam’s Past

For Muslims, history is important. The mission of Mohammed and the promulgation of the Qur’an are events in history, and knowledge of them was preserved and disseminated through historical memory and record. In this respect Islam takes the same view as its two predecessors, Judaism and Christianity, and indeed the …

At Stake in the Gulf

When Saddam Hussein invaded, conquered, occupied, and annexed the neighboring state of Kuwait, he broke several rules and posed several new threats to the region and perhaps—though influential voices dispute this—to the world. According to a basic principle of inter-Arab politics most recently proclaimed by Saddam himself in 1980, no …

Islamic Revolution

In revolutions, even more than in other forms of political activity, there is an element of theater. This is evidenced by the almost universal use of such words as drama, stage, scene, role, even actor, in speaking of revolutionary events. Revolutionaries are, of course, conscious of this dramatic element. Some …

The New Anti-Semitism

What importance must we assign, in the Arab-Israeli struggle, to anti-Semitism—more specifically, to the profound and special hatred of Jews that goes beyond normal political conflict, beyond even the normal hostilities and prejudices that arise between different peoples, and attributes to them a quality of cosmic and diabolic evil? More …

The Shi’a

The anger of the Shi’ite Muslims, of which so much has been heard of late, has a long history, going back to the beginnings of Islam and rooted in the very nature of Muslim religion and government. When the Prophet Muhammad died in the year 632 AD, he had founded …

How Khomeini Made It

In October 1962, the Shah’s government in Iran, as a step toward the extension of representative institutions, promulgated a law which provided for the election of representative local councils throughout the country. The religious leaders opposed the law, and raised three main objections. First, it gave women the vote, for …

The Egyptian Murder Case

During the few moments that passed between the murder of Sadat and the seizure of his murderers, the leader of the four assassins shouted some words that were repeated all over Egypt during the days that followed. According to reports, he cried out: “My name is Khalid al-Islambuli. I have …

The Revolt of Islam

Until the latter part of 1978 the discussion of Islam as a factor in politics was subject to certain taboos in the Western world. There was no such taboo in the Middle East and generally in the Muslim world, where the rise of nationalism had touched off a continuing debate …

The Question of Orientalism

Imagine a situation in which a group of patriots and radicals from Greece decides that the profession of classical studies is insulting to the great heritage of Hellas, and that those engaged in these studies, known as classicists, are the latest manifestation of a deep and evil conspiracy, incubated for …