This book is a needed reminder that the people who live under the rule of fundamentalists don’t get near the support they need. They are the first line of defense against fundamentalism, the first people who suffer on account of it and the last to be freed from its horrors. These are the people this book is about. It is their fight and their struggle and their voices raised to be heard. They need to be heard.
Unfortunately, the book doesn’t leave me with the feeling that there’s anything concrete I can do to support these people who are actively fighting against fundamentalism every day. It also doesn’t leave me feeling like all attempts at outside support have been blunder after blunder, though. Outsiders have helped some and hurt some and made no difference at all some. That we can’t do much to help them doesn’t mean that we can forget them. They fight Muslim fundamentalism at its root. We can’t let ourselves be fooled into thinking that fundamentalism is the only thing happening in and coming out of these countries.
We also can’t become so complacent that we fool ourselves into thinking that there aren’t other kinds of fundamentalism that we should be weary of or that we aren’t susceptible to it. Fighting and resisting our own types of fundamentalism in the US can help the people in this book and others. As Bennoune repeatedly makes clear, both Far-Rights need each other to carry on. The more we can do to deplete ours, the less fuel we will give theirs.
I first heard of the book from the TEDtalk that the Bennoune gave in 2014. I’m a big fan of TED and the talk introduces the book well. If you’re on the fence about the book, check it out here.