We are told that Western/Christian and Muslim/Arab civilizations are heading towards inevitable conflict. The demographics of the West remain sluggish, while the population of the Muslim world explodes, widening the cultural gap and all but guaranteeing the outbreak of war. Leaving aside the media's sound and fury on this issue, measured analysis shows another reality taking shape: rapprochement between these two civilizations, benefiting from a universal movement with roots in the Enlightenment. The historical and geographical sweep of this book discredits the notion of a specific Islamic demography. The range of fertility among Muslim women, for example, is as varied as religious behavior among Muslims in general. Whether agnostics, fundamentalist Salafis, or al-Qaeda activists, Muslims are a diverse group that prove the variety and individuality of Islam. Youssef Courbage and Emmanuel Todd consider different degrees of literacy, patriarchy, and defensive reactions among minority Muslim populations, underscoring the spread of massive secularization throughout the Arab and Muslim world. In this regard, they argue, there is very little to distinguish the evolution of Islam from the history of Christianity, especially with Muslims now entering a global modernity. Sensitive to demographic variables and their reflection of personal and social truths, Courbage and Todd upend a dangerous meme: that we live in a fractured world close to crisis, struggling with an epidemic of closed cultures and minds made different by religion.
Youssef Courbage and Emmanuel Todd totally recast the current debate about Islam and the West by focusing attention on some societal fundamentals and by debunking--once and for all--a number of myths. -- Nicolas Guilhot, editor of The Invention of International Relations Theory This articulate and elegant demographic study convincingly documents a general trend toward modernity in the Muslim world, from Morocco to Indonesia. It successfully refutes many Western prejudices towards Islam, especially those based on misconceptions about its religion. It should be required reading for Western policy makers as well as for the general public. -- Leon-Francois Hoffmann, Princeton University Challenging and important reading.Kirkus Reviews Kirkus Reviews 6/1/2011 I found this succinct book fascinating and recommend it. -- Patrick J. Ryan Commonweal 10/7/2011 engaging for a general reader and rewarding for a specialist.Choice Choice 11/1/2011 ahdjkhueh Scholarly and engaging, this is an important work and one which deserves to be widely read. -- Sandra Berns Law Society Journal 9/1/11 A positive, enlightening survey. The Midwest Book Review 9/1/11