Sunday, April 04, 2010

Measured review of Vali Nasr's encomium to the rising Muslim middle class

Whether Nasr is strolling along the Bosporus with a Turkish friend, dining with a colonel in Ankara, enjoying an Iranian watermelon with Iraqi soldiers in Basra on a hot summer day in 2008, visiting the Jamkaran Mosque outside of the clerical city of Qom in Iran, speaking on the telephone with an old friend in Lahore, recounting his grandfather’s pride at being selected in 1928 by Reza Shah to study in the West, or surfing the Web for signs of “prophets of change” and music that appeals to the “youth bulge,” he sees signs that the rising middle class increasingly looks to tradition, even if unwittingly invented, “to help navigate the currents of change” (p. 184).

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