Cover image for No God but God : Egypt and the triumph of Islam
No God but God : Egypt and the triumph of Islam
Abdo, Geneive, 1960-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2000.
Physical Description:
xi, 223 pages ; 25 cm
Reading Level:
1340 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BP64.E3 A25 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Shrouded in mystery, the Islamic presence in the Middle East evokes longstanding Western fears of terrorism and holy war. Our media have consistently focused on these extremes of Islam, overlooking a quiet yet pervasive religious movement that is now transforming the nation of Egypt. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, No God But God opens up previously inaccessible segments of Egyptian society--from the universities and professional sectors to the streets--to illustrate the deep penetration of "Popular Islamic" influence. Abdo provides a firsthand account of this peacefulmovement, allowing its moderate leaders, street preachers, scholars, doctors, lawyers, men and women of all social classes to speak for themselves. Challenging Western stereotypes, she finds that this growing number of Islamists do not seek the violent overthrow of the government or a return to amedieval age. Instead, they believe their religious values are compatible with the demands of the modern world. They are working within and beyond the secular framework of the nation to gradually create a new society based on Islamic principles. Abdo narrates fascinating accounts of their methodsand successes. Today, for example, university students meet in underground unions, despite a state ban. In addition, sheikhs have recently used their new legislative power to censor books and movies deemed to violate religious values. Both fascinating and unsettling, Abdo's findings identify a grassroots model for transforming a secular nation-state to an Islamic social order that will likely inspire other Muslim nations. This model cannot be ignored, for it will soon help organized Islamists to undermine secular control ofEgypt and potentially jeopardize Western interests in the Arab world.

Author Notes

Geneive Abdo is the correspondent in Iran for The Guardian and The Economist. She has reported from numerous Islamic countries over a decade, from the Middle East to North Africa and Central Asia. As a correspondent based in Cairo, she covered the Middle East for The Dallas Morning News. Ms.Abdo reported the fall of the Soviet Union for Reuters news agency. She was a staff writer for Newsday and the Baltimore Evening Sun . A graduate of the University of Texas, she was later a Fellow at the Program for Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Despite recent efforts by historians and journalists, Islam still remains a subject that is misconstrued and often reviled by the West. Many books have tried to explain that all adherents of the prophet Mohammed are not terrorists, warmongers, empire builders, and anti-American. This most recent effort shows the peaceful nature of Islam and is a fascinating look at an Islamic subculture mostly unknown to the Western non-Muslim. Abdo, a Middle East correspondent for the Guardian and the Economist, has delved into the grassroots Islamic movement in Egypt to show how that country is accepting modern secularism, yet at the same time rediscovering Islamic religious devotion, and doing it peacefully. Abdo was able to break through the walls of mistrust felt toward the Western press by donning full Islamic dress and was allowed into a world that has little before been seen by outsiders. Through her interactions with Muslims of all social structures and classes in Egypt (thereby showing that Islamic revivalism is not a matter for just the poor), Abdo presents fruitful cross-cultural undercurrents that provide hope for peace and understanding between secularism and religion. Michael Spinella

Library Journal Review

In focusing upon the extremes of Islam, the Western media have generally overlooked the peaceful religious changes that have recently, and gradually, taken place in Egypt. On all levels of society, many Egyptians have come to reject Islamic groups that resort to violence. These people realize that religious values and spiritual ideals can be adapted to peacefully and thus co-exist with the demands of contemporary life. Abdo, a correspondent for the Guardian and the Economist, conducted hundreds of interviews within previously closed segments of society "to present the true face of Islam." Along the way, she discovered a great diversity of religious expression in a social transformation that poses a greater challenge to Western interests than the militant movement now in decline. Partially funded by the United States Institute for Peace, this firsthand account will serve as a role model for Islamic reform in the 21st century. Recommended for public and academic libraries.DMichael W. Ellis, Ellenville P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Note on Transliterationp. xi
1 The New Face of Islamp. 3
2 Streets of Greenp. 19
3 The Fount of Islamp. 41
4 The Professionalsp. 71
5 School of Revolutionp. 107
6 Taking the Veilp. 139
7 Court of Public Opinionp. 163
8 To Iran and Back Againp. 187
Notesp. 201
Selected Bibliographyp. 209
Indexp. 215