[A friend who was following this PBS series on modern Islam and its interactions with the West sent along the following comment with websites so that one can scan the basic details — useful for me as a grandfather who had been totally distracted by caring for young grandchildren displaced by the flooding and power outages in Westchester County. Ed Kent]


Last night, I watched the first installment, “Jihad”, of this series. I found the Jihad segment quite good at covering the history of Islamism, Al-Qeda, etc.

Web site: http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/
PBS store for the DVDs:

Among other things, the two-hour segement examined Sayyid Al-Qutb
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayyid_Qutb) and the Muslim Brotherhood

The way the video presented some key Arabic words and concepts was interesting to me. As the word is mentioned, a scribe is shown writing the word in Arabic. Among the words covered were jihad (of course), jahiliya (pre-Islamic paganism, ignorance, also used as a slur against Westernised Muslims) and takfir (the declaration of certain Muslims as not really being Muslims, a modern deviation from Islamic concept that only Allah can determine who’s a Muslim and who’s not). In a way, the progression of these words and associated concepts show how the extremism is very much a struggle withing Islam that expanded to pull in the West because of its involvement in Arab countries.

One of the interesting interviewees was Abdallah Scheiffer, Washingtom Bureau Chief for Al Arabiya News Channel. His perspective is interesting because he is an American Jewish fellow who converted to Islam many years ago and lived in Egypt for years. You can see who else was interviewed at http://www.pbs.org/weta/crossroads/about/show_jihad_film.html

The schedule for the series is at

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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