Book 6 – The Rise of Islamic Captialism – Vali Nasr

Book No 6 is another book concerning the Middle East The Rise of Islamic Capitalism – Why the New Muslim Middle Class is the Key to Defeating Extremismby Vali Nasr. Nasr was born in Iran and is a professor of International Relations at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University. The main thesis of the book is that the way to win in the Middle East is to support and strengthen the capitalism of the growing middle class. He believes that the majority of the populous of the Middle East want not a fundamentalist Islam but a more modern Islam that will blend religion with a strong economy. The book traces the failures of secularism throughout the Middle East and delves into the failure of the Iraniam Islamic revolution to spread. He discusses the current Iran predicament, Pakistan and finally folds up Turkey as a country that may have gotten it right. I found the book enlightening and informative! Here is a quote from the cover:

A brilliant guide to the complex landscape of the Middle East. The rise of trade, capitalism, and the merchant life is the most important trend at work there, one could counter the pernicious force of religious extremism” – Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World

I believe the above quote sums up the book correctly. It will be interesting to see how the current events in Egypt, Libya and Yemen play out in the coming months in relation to Nasr’s writing. Hopefully, he will be correct and the result will be a more democratic Middle East rooted in the Islamic faith but with a modern capitalistic middle class that will counter the extremism of Al-Qaeda.