In her well-written book Hizbu'llah: Politics and Religion, author Amal Saad-Ghorayeb explains the historical and contemporary development of Hizbu'llahs' political, social, and religious ideologies. Though she shows pro-Hizbu'llah, pro-Shiite, pro-Lebanese bias she attempts to present a fair and balanced study of an extremely controversial organization. Gleaning her information from an assortment of articles, interviews, newspapers she argues that since it's inception, the party has evolved and changed to meet the challenges political and social challenges both in Lebanon and throughout the Islamic world. She focuses primarily on the a close examination of the parties theological arguments concerning its purpose or role in the conflict against the West and the "Zionist/Jewish entity."
Ghorayeb begins her study with a brief, but thorough discussion of the formation and early development of Hizbu'llah from a Jihadi or "resistance force" to a major political power in Lebanon. She argues that myriad Shiite political movements in Lebanon originated in the 1960s and 1970s, but failed to merge until the 1978 and 1982 Israeli invasions and subsequent occupations of Lebanon by Israel. She states that Shiites suffered the greatest number of casualties in the Lebanese civil war and Israeli occupation. Within that claim she also asserts that one third of those killed in Sabra and Chatila were Shiites who had fled the Israeli occupation. In fact, her claims might be true. Regardless, she presents a convincing argument for the existence of an organization like Hizbu'llah in Lebanon.
However, biased or objective her argument, Ghorayeb offers an intimate glimpse into mind of Islamic fundamentalism. She stresses the predominately Shiite theology that defends the protection and defense of the weak and oppressed peoples, both Muslim and non-Muslim, as a central to the ideology of Hizbu'llah. The concept labels the United States, Britain, and France as the primary European oppressors under the subtle control of Israel. Essentially the conflict between Islam and the West lies phenomenon of globalism and the effects of Western hegemony, primarily American, in Middle Eastern politics and Muslim culture. The two chapters on Hizbu'llahs' anti-Westernism and anti-Americanism offer a glimpse into Islamic socio-religious thought and are essential in understanding today's world.
Unfortunately, many who read this book will condemn it based solely on Ghorayeb's constant condemnation of Israeli actions and the American blockade of United Nation censor of Israel. Though she addresses Hizbu'llah's terror activities, she refuses to label the group as a terror organization. However, she demonstrates a profound understanding of the Islamic jurisprudence and reasoning concerning violence against civilians. In that sense, this book is an apologetic that defends the legitimacy of Hizbu'llah and the organizations right to struggle against Israeli oppression. She explains the party's view that Israel remains illegitimate and Jews are evil and cannot be trusted. Some reviewers argue that she needs to include a section explaining the Zionist argument for the legitimacy of Israel. I disagree; this is a book about Hizbu'llah written by a Lebanese Shiite who returned to live in Lebanon. We should accept it and try to learn from it. There are plenty of books that come from the other end of the spectrum.