Salim Mansur is a well-known columnist and political scientist who often writes about the Middle East, about Islam, and about North American politics. His book, Islam's Predicament: Perspectives of a Dissident Muslim is a collection of some of his more poignant writings, with the addition of longer essays that have not been published as his weekly columns in Canada.
If you are not familiar with Mansur's writings, you might want to take a look at his columns as they become available on line with Sun News. Better yet, buy his book.
Here are a few excerpts that particularly caught me. On Palestine:
At best Arab claims to Palestine and Jersusalem were based on squatters' right ... Palestine was "liberated" from Ottoman Turkish rule by Britain towards the end of World War One and then partitioned twice. In 1922 for the first time when Britain demarcated the land on the east bank of the River Jordan as Transjordan (later to become the Kingdom of Jordan); and then for the second time in November 1947 when the United Nations divided the remaining territory on the west bank into two states, one Arab and one Jewish.
On the impact of 9/11 on his Muslim faith:
The events of September 11, 2001, ... made me rethink the basis of my thinking and living, writing and teaching regarding the politics of the Middle East, the world of Islam and its relationship with the West. That morning of 9/11, I along with so many of us, was overwhelmed by the horror of the evil we witnessed. That night I went to bed unaware of how greatly changed would be my sense of the world on awakening. I soon realized that I was beginning to reclaim a history and meaning for my faith -- Islam -- that was obscured, if not deliberately erased by those in authority and those aspiring to replace them.
Salim Mansur and I have known each other for many years. We have met in the hallways at the university, we have met frequently on Saturday mornings for coffee at Starbucks in Masonville, we often socialize with our friends Ben, Eva, and Rory. His emergence as an intellectual leader, promoting and encouraging a Muslim reformation is inspiring.
Judging from the reactions of many Muslims to his work, he is in a small minority. But his influence is growing.
Disclaimer: Salim gave me an autographed copy of his book.
Side note: For once it looks as if the Canadian price is roughly the same as the US price.