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on 25 March 2000
I loved reading this splendid title and would recommend it to anyone.

A continental bestseller, it was hailed by the British author Asad Yawar as "the most enlightening book to have been published in Europe in the 1980s ... a must read."
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on 5 February 2015
Ali Izetbegovic's work is one amazing piece of modern philosophy. The author's ability to construct a long thread of thought while maintaining the thoughts as well as the order and organization of the titles is phenomenal. Also, he managed to argue - successfully in my opinion - for and against many modern terminologies as well as old ones, thus constructing a solid premise for each chapter and each thought, which eventually takes the reader into his world and enable a proper comprehension to occur.

At the beginning, when one reads the table of contents, it would appear puzzling, confusing and incompatible, yet by the end of the second chapter, the reader is enabled by the author into constructing the whole picture, creating a drive to read the rest of the book with passion, while connecting the dots along the way.

This book is one of those life-changing books, especially for the modern youth, whether Muslim or non-Muslim. It is a must to read this book. And enable yourself to articulate the effects of the dominant Western philosophy and "Civilization" on your own heart and soul, thus resulting in a balancing effect and an inner way out between the East and the West.
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on 31 January 2011
This is a heady distillation of intellectual Muslim thought, demonstrating the kind of man Izetbegovic was. I once gave this book to my father (an agnostic) who said, "He's so intelligent it's scary." Islam Between East and West is a modern treatise on cultures and civilization which attempts to show how so many philosophies have failed to give human beings what they need. Izetbegovic is no coward, and he makes strong assertions: "Every culture is theistic in its essence; every civilization is atheistic." By differentiating between culture and civilization, he shows the difference between critically analytical Islamic thought ( a throwback to the Golden Age of Muslim philosophers) and the Christian turning of "the human spirit in upon itself" (witness the convents and monasteries betokening the negation of worldly life). Izetbegovic argues that the Islamic ideal offers firm middle ground between Christianity, which focuses on the spirit, and Judaism, which "represents the 'this-world' tendency." In support of the latter assertion, he writes, "The Jews have never entirely accepted the idea of immortality. . . . The Kingdom of God which the Jews were predicting before Jesus' appearance was to materialize on earth, not in heaven as the Christians believed." This, then, apparently explains why the Jewish nation has tended to focus on external progress: "It seems as if they have been constantly migrating from a civilization on the wane to one on the rise."

Izetbegovic was the farthest thing from a fundamentalist, royalist, or nomad,which in some part explains the tepid interest of the Saudi government when he approached it during the Bosnian War, when Serbs began killing hordes of Caucasian Bosnian Muslims who looked (to the Arabs) more like Westerners than Muslims. He had a secular education and later got involved in activism and then politics. (Clinton made a campaign promise in the USA that if he were elected president, he would put a stop to the genocide. He was elected, but the reality of attacking Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina did not sit terribly well with the Serbian population in the USA. It took awhile for the US/Western allies to actually get involved.)

Izetbegovic does not ignore the East: he demonstrates the exclusive preoccupation with this world as evinced in socialism, communism, fascism, etc., noting that if religion, by itself, does not necessarily lead to progress, "science does not lead to humanism and in principle has nothing in common with culture."

Izetbegovic defines culture as "the art of being man," while civilization is "the art of functioning, ruling, making things perfect." Both are indispensable, he says: "Civilization educates; culture enlightens."

He explains education as something that makes human beings more capable but not freer, better, or more human. In many ways, he contends, the progress of education has made mankind less happy, if longer lived. He points out that man has the propensity to grow in nobility specifically when faced with adversity, yet science treats man as an animal, and that is why psychology is an accepted science in a material world. But in a scientific world, there can be no equality or brotherhood--that is only possible when we accept that man is created by God. The equality of human beings is spiritual and not a natural, physical or intellectual fact.

Izetbegovic uses art as proof of the existence of the soul--it matters not that the artist himself should be a believer in God. His argument? Art, he offers, is a spiritual rather than material act; the flip side to this argument is that "A human being is not the sum of his different biological functions, just like a painting cannot be reduced to the quantity of paint used." This book proves that in our modern time, there have been exceedingly erudite Muslim thinkers, far removed from the inflexible psychosis of fundamentalism.

Julia Simpson Urrutia, (Grassroots Writers Guild).
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on 20 November 1999
..'Islam Between East and West' is a comprehensive study of leading world views and establishes the place of Islam as a dominant ideological force. The powerful sweep of its logic gives the reader an invigorating sense of the beauty and universality of Islam. Alija Ali Izetbegovic wrote this astonishingly integrated analysis of the human condition while struggling against Communist/Serbian control. Essential reading for Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
Author's Biography: Alija A. Izetbegovich was born on August 8, 1925 in a renowned Muslim family. Educated in Sarajevo, he got his degrees in law, arts and science. He was imprisoned twice by the communist government of Yugoslavia. Izetbegovich was elected president of Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina in November 1990.
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on 31 October 2015
This book presents the essence of Islam without mixing it with cultural beliefs of the East. Islam is often presented from Eastern perspectives where culture and religion aspects are used interchangeably. This book describes Islam in a unique manner.
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on 24 April 2016
If you are only going to read one book in your life, make sure it's this one. Beyond superlatives....
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