Sunday, January 9, 2011

How Israel controls United States of America

How Israel Controls USA
"I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the U.S., in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it." The New Freedom. Woodrow Wilson, 1913.
Reports indicate that the mighty Helen Thomas is back at Falls Church News-Press, after her infamous blockbuster quibble, followed by firings of Octavia Nasr and Rick Sanchez. But her re-instatement will bring further controversy in the form of no advertisements, character assassinations, black-mailings, financial troubles and so on, to FCNP from the lunatic Zionists. And it would be a matter of time to find out whether the enslaved American public, continue to enjoy their slavery or rise up in a revolution and throw this devil from their back.
Paul Findley "They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel's Lobby"
John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy"
James Petras "The Power of Israel in the United States"
Greg Felton "The Host and The Parasite - How Israel’s Fifth Column Consumed America"

Andrew Cockburn and Leslie Cockburn "Dangerous Liaison: The Inside Story of the U.S.-Israeli Covert Relationship"

Following is the essay which appeared few months ago detailing the full controversy.
Lessons from the Helen Thomas Episode
Syed Iqbal Zaheer
This article was published as ‘Editorial’ in July 2010 issue of Young Muslim Digest, Bangalore.
Helen Thomas’ parents were of Lebanese origin. But because she was born in Kentucky 90 years ago, the Arab-American tag was not attached to her name. She was always known as American, was, in fact, every cell and sinew an American, and so had no difficulty in climbing up the ladder of successes, achievements and acknowledgments. After graduating from Wayne State University, she started her career as a copyist on the now defunct Washington Daily News, and joined United Press International (UPI) five years before the Second World War.
For more than a decade she wrote radio news for UPI, covering President-elect John F. Kennedy in 1960. She was included in the White House team, and was there until May 2000. In July 2000 Thomas became a columnist for the Hearst News Service - where she continues (although the latest situation - after the frank talk - is unclear). During the years she covered Kennedy, she was the first woman to close a presidential news conference with the traditional “Thank you, Mr. President.” She covered every president of the United States from the last years of the Eisenhower administration until the second year of the Obama administration.
She served as President of the Women’s National Press Club in 1959-60, and she was the first woman officer of the National Press Club after it opened its doors to women members for the first time in 90 years. In addition, Thomas became the first woman officer of the White House Correspondents Association in its 50 years of existence, and served as its first woman president in 1975-76. She also became the first woman member of the Gridiron Club in its history, and the first woman to be elected President in 1993.
In 1968, Helen Thomas was named the “Newspaper Woman of Washington” by the American Newspaper Woman’s Club, and in 1975, she was named the “Woman of the Year” in communications by Ladies Home Journal. She has also received the Matrix Award from the Women in Communications, and the World Alamanac named Helen Thomas as one of the Twenty-five most influential women in America.
She received numerous honorary doctorate degrees, some of the most recent from Brown University, St. Bonaventure University, Michigan State University and the George Washington University. In addition, she has been a commencement speaker at dozens of colleges and has delivered lectures on the White House and the Presidency throughout the country.
Helen Thomas travelled around the world several times with Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush and Clinton, and covered every economic summit. In February 1972, she was the only newspaperwoman to travel with President Nixon to China during his breakthrough trip. Since then, she has been to China on many subsequent presidential visits.
She received numerous awards and more than 30 honorary degrees during her long-spanning journalistic activity. In 1986, she received the William Allen White Foundation Award for Journalistic Merit from the University of Kansas. Thomas received an Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media from the Freedom Forum in 1991. The White House Correspondents Association honoured her in 1998 by establishing the Helen Thomas Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2000, her alma mater, Wayne State University, established an award for journalists in her honour, the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity Award. In 2007, Thomas received a Foremother Award from the National Research Center for Women & Families.
By 2010, she had done a memorable job as a journalist. She was respected, admired and became voguish. She became known as the ‘Sitting Buddha’ because she was always there in the same seat, decades after decades, and was so wise. That position gave her the courage to ask, back in 2006, President Bush a question that raised the eyebrows for the first time. Free Press, yes, freedom for the senior most journalist, yes, but for once in her career she did not seem to have been obedient to the shackling rules concealed behind the facade of free press. Or was it intentional? She asked Bush: “I’d like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is: Why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth... what was your reason? You have said it wasn’t oil... quest for oil, it hasn’t been Israel, or anything else. What was it?” Bush responded with his usual propaganda ploy, what nobody in politics ever believed as true: War on Terror. He stated as a reason for the invasion that Saddam Hussein chose to deny inspectors and not to disclose required information. These were, of course, as much lie, as the “War on Terror” slogan. Nevertheless, Helen Thomas was criticized by some commentators for her temerity to nail a President publicly, and behave as if the Press was free. She was now in the eye.
In February 2009, Helen Thomas fired another shot. She asked the newly-elected President Obama whether any Middle Eastern country possessed nuclear weapons. Obama evaded a direct answer by saying that he did not want to speculate on the matter, although, it was acknowledgement that was required of him and not speculation. After all, every educated American knows that Israel has nuclear weapons, in hundreds. But in the West, unless you state it in clear terms, truth does not exist and, conversely, whatever is said is the truth, so long as you - as the deliverer of the statement - do not admit it as false.
This nuclear issue is a sensitive one. But in 1960s, President John F. Kennedy was pursuing, in the U.N., the agenda of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. In a historic U.N. vote, even the U.S. agreed - over Israeli objections - to make the Middle East a Nuclear Free Zone.
That treaty would mandate that Israel dismantle its nuclear arsenal. An idealistic young U.S. president was vigorously pursuing that goal when his life was brought to an abrupt end, without any inquiry commission ever discovering why the charismatic leader was ruthlessly finished off before global cameras. It is believed that the President was about to disclose too much about certain hidden organizations, with hidden agendas who could have decided his removal.
With reference to Israel, and things being so obvious, being there for more than half a century, witnessing the hypocritical behaviour, being the conduit narrating series of lies from the government to the public worldwide, watching at close hand deceitful statements by Administration after Administration, Helen Thomas must have felt close to being sick. In American political corridors, if you are not a downright double-speak, you are nothing. But Helen Thomas was now nearing 90s. In the words of a columnist, “Helen Thomas knows the scope and scale of Zionist operations inside the U.S. She saw it firsthand through ten presidencies from both the major U.S. political parties.” At the moment she was ready to retire, and so must have been in a mentally relaxed state. This could have been the reason why she dropped the gauntlet she wore for close to 70 years and let slip comments, on May 27, 2010, while the White House was in a Jewish Heritage Celebration (yes, in White House, and not in Tel Aviv Knesset) - to a Jewish Rabbi David Nesenoff (again, not in the Tel Aviv Knesset, but in White House, where even Christian priests cannot be so often spotted):
Nesenoff: Any comments on Israel?  We’re asking everybody today, any comments on Israel?
Thomas: Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine.
Nesenoff: Oooh. Any better comments on Israel?
Thomas: Remember, these people are occupied and its their land, It’s not German, it’s not Poland...
Nesenoff: So where should they go, what should they do?
Thomas: They go home.
Nesenoff: Where’s the home?
Thomas: Poland. Germany.
Nesenoff: So you’re saying the Jews go back to Poland and Germany?
Thomas: And America and everywhere else. Why push people out of there who have lived there for centuries? See?
That was a bomb-shell. It was an insider’s truthful voice. It was a crime. She was a traitor. Her agency immediately dropped her name as a client. Her co-author announced that he “will no longer be working with Helen on our book projects.” Her scheduled speech at a school was cancelled. A former Governor said her remarks were “outrageous, anti-Semitic, racist, indefensible” and told Thomas, “maybe it’s time for you to go home.” The White House Correspondents’ Association called her comments “indefensible.” The Society of Professional Journalists who awarded her the “Award for Lifetime Achievements” is considering withdrawing the Award.
Wayne State University, which offers the Helen Thomas Spirit of Diversity in the Media award, strongly condemned what it called her “wholly inappropriate comments.”
President Obama whom some Americans are now referring to in derogatory terms, said her remarks were “offensive” and “out of line.” Recognizing her long service covering U.S. presidents, and calling her “a real institution” in Washington, he said that it was a “shame” her celebrated career had to end in such controversy.
It was a starkly dark day for the USA that a highly distinguished American was forced to retire from the proud career because she spoke the truth about - not any, but - a ‘particular’ foreign country. It has been made obvious that an American can criticize anybody and everybody, any country in the world and every country, any American policy and every policy, but cannot utter a word of truth about Israel, Jews or Zionism. An American citizen, no matter how high he or she rises, is nothing, if he or she cannot salute the Israeli flag and go on the knees before the dictates of the Israeli Knesset.
We do not have another example in history of free State under the stranglehold of another State to a degree that a disapproved word, not by an ordinary citizen, but even by a distinguished personality, cannot be uttered without punishment.
If we take into account the fact that the total number of 47 (out of a House of 100) senators defended Israel’s cold blooded murder of civilians, at night, in International Waters, on food-carrying “Freedom Flotilla” to starving Palestinian men, women and children (chocolate is one of thousands of banned items) - justifying  it as “entirely lawful blockade,” an “act of self-defense,” and , “The U.S. stands shoulder to shoulder to with Israel in our fights against violent extremism” - if we take into account this fact, then, the story of enslavement(or prostitution) is complete.
Paul Craig Roberts – a matured economist, an author of eight books and numerous articles, and a co-founder of Reaganomics, who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration - writes:
“Israeli Government leaders have publicly bragged for decades about their control over the US government. US Admiral Tom Moorer, Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff after whom the F-14 ‘Tomcat’ jet fighter was named, declared publicly: ‘No American President can stand up to Israel.”
“Allegedly, the US is a superpower, but in fact it is a puppet state of the Israeli government. Witness, for example (the examples are numerous), the fate of the Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes committed in Israel’s assault on Gaza during Dec.2008-Jan.2009. Richard Goldstone is a South African  Jew and a distinguished judge. He was given the task by the United Nations to investigate the Israeli attack on Gaza. Being an honest person, he provided evidence of Israeli war crimes. What was the result? The bought-and-paid-for US Congress voted, on the instructions of their master, the Israel Lobby, to deep-six the Goldstone Report by a vote of 344 to 36. Amazing, isn’t it, there were only 36 US Representatives who were not owned by the Israeli Lobby.” And, “No independently minded Journalist can have a career in print or TV media. You defend the Washington/Tel Aviv line, or you are out of work.”
Helen Thomas’ episode reflects the complete truth of Sen. William Fulbright’s repeated statements (way back half a century ago, in a meeting in 1967) that the (Zionist) Jews control the Senate.
If anything, the control has increased several times over. Muslims over the world should take into the account this saga, and draw not only the right kind of conclusions about the control, but may also consider: Could the USA be so dutifully bent backward to this extent to merely please a State it created, arms, finances and shields from International law, without an unshakable conviction that Islam is a threat to it, and to its civilization which seems to have lost the inner strength to face the challenges of another civilization? Was Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilization’ a historian’s musings, or a Foreign Policy Script?

Friday, December 24, 2010

The battle of the books: The Bible v The Quran

The battle of the books: The Bible v the Koran
The business of marketing the Bible and the Koran says a lot about the state of modern Christianity and Islam
This article appeared in The Economist dated Dec. 22, 2007.
Christians and Muslims have one striking thing in common: they are both “people of the book”. And they both have an obligation to spread the Word—to get those Holy Books into the hands and hearts of as many people as they can. (The Jews, the third people of the book, do not feel quite the same obligation.)
Spreading the Word is hard. The Bible is almost 800,000 words long and littered with tedious passages about begetting. The Koran is a mere four-fifths of the length of the New Testament; but some Westerners find it an even more difficult read. Edward Gibbon complained about its “endless incoherent rhapsody of fable and precept”. Thomas Carlyle said that it was “as toilsome reading as I ever undertook; a wearisome, confused jumble, crude, incondite”.
Yet over 100m copies of the Bible are sold or given away every year. Annual Bible sales in America are worth between $425m and $650m; Gideon's International gives away a Bible every second. The Bible is available all or in part in 2,426 languages, covering 95% of the world's population.
The Koran is not only the most widely read book in the Islamic world but also the most widely recited (“Koran” means “recitation”). There is no higher goal in Muslim life than to become a human repository of the Holy Book; there is no more common sound in the Muslim world than the sound of Koranic recitation.
Reciting the Koran is the backbone of Muslim education. One of the most prized honorifics in Islamic society is “hafiz” or “one who has the entire scripture off by heart”. Do so in Iran and you get an automatic university degree. The great recitors compete in tournaments that can attract audiences in the hundreds of thousands—the world cups of the Islamic world. The winners' CDs become instant bestsellers.
The Bible and the Koran have both gone global. In 1900, 80% of the world's Christians lived in Europe and the United States. Today 60% live in the developing world. More Presbyterians go to church in Ghana than in Scotland. In 1900 Islam was concentrated in the Arab world and South-East Asia. Today, there may be as many practising Muslims in England as there are practising Anglicans; though in the 20th century, at least, Islam's expansion has mostly come about through population growth and migration, rather than conversion. Muslim “missionary” activity is aimed more at reinvigorating the faithful, and encouraging them to greater zealotry, than at winning new souls.
This mountain of Holy Books is a giant refutation of the secularisation thesis—the idea that religion recedes as the world modernises. “The book lives on among its people,” Constance Padwick, a scholar of the Koran, has written. “For them these are not mere letters or mere words. They are the twigs of the burning bush, aflame with God.” The same can be said of the Bible.
It also poses a couple of intriguing questions. Why are today's Christians and Muslims proving so successful at getting the Word out? And who is winning the battle of the books? Is either of the world's two great missionary religions gaining an edge when it comes to getting their Holy Books into people's hands and hearts?

The straightforward answer to the first question is that Christians and Muslims are both proving remarkably adept at using the tools of modernity—globalisation, technology and growing wealth—to aid the distribution of their Holy Books. “Give me Scotland or I die,” John Knox once cried. Today's faithful aim for the world.
The combination of globalisation and rising wealth is proving to be a bonanza for both religions. The most prolific producer of Christian missionaries, on a per head basis, is now South Korea. The biggest Bible publishing houses are in Brazil and South Korea. An interlinked global network of 140 national or regional Bible Societies pools resources to reach its collective goal of putting a Bible in the hands of every man, woman and child on the planet. The American Bible Society, the biggest of the lot, has published more than 50m Bibles in atheist China.
Saudi oil wealth is supercharging the distribution of the Koran. The kingdom gives away some 30m Korans a year, under the auspices of either the Muslim World League or individual billionaires, distributing them through a vast network of mosques, Islamic societies and even embassies. Go to and you can have a free book in your hands in weeks.
Saudi-funded dissemination of the Koran, along with literature promoting the stern Saudi understanding of Islam, may not have much direct effect on Christians, or the unchurched. But it does increase the relative weight, within Islam, of teachings which tend to sharpen the Christian-Muslim divide. For example, traditional Muslim teaching stresses those passages in the Koran which affirm the Christian Gospel and the Hebrew Torah as valid revelations of God and paths to salvation. But there is a harsher, Saudi-influenced view which insists that since Muhammad delivered the final revelation, Christianity and Judaism have lost their power to save.
The Muslim diaspora and Muslim missionaries are bringing the faith to previously untouched areas. The Tablighi Jamaat (“the group that propagates the faith”) is a global network of part-time preachers who dress like the Prophet, in a white robe and leather sandals, and travel in small groups to spread the Word. Their annual gatherings in India and Pakistan attract hundreds of thousands.
Technology is proving to be a friend of the Holy Books. You can consult them on the internet. You can read them on your “Psalm pilot” or mobile phone. You can listen to them on MP3 players or iPods (“podcasting” has given rise to “Godcasting”). Want to “plug into God without unplugging from life”? Then simply buy a Go Bible MP3 player. Want to memorise the Koran? Then buy an MP3 player that displays the words as you listen. Want to network with like-minded people? Then the eBible allows you to discuss biblical passages with virtual friends.

Bible Society of India, Bangalore
Several television channels and radio stations do nothing but broadcast the Koran. At the other end of the technological spectrum, the American Bible Society produces an audio device, powered by a battery or hand crank and no bigger than a couple of cigar boxes, that can broadcast the Bible to a crowd of a hundred.
There is a difference, however, between getting and understanding a Holy Book. Here both Christianity and Islam suffer from serious problems. Americans buy more than 20m new Bibles every year to add to the four that the average American has at home. Yet the state of American biblical knowledge is abysmal. A Gallup survey found that less than half of Americans can name the first book of the Bible (Genesis), only a third know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount (Billy Graham is a popular answer) and a quarter do not know what is celebrated at Easter (the resurrection, the foundational event of Christianity). Sixty per cent cannot name half the ten commandments; 12% think Noah was married to Joan of Arc. George Gallup, a leading Evangelical as well as a premier pollster, describes America as “a nation of biblical illiterates”.
Muslims greatly prefer to read the Koran in the original Arabic. Yet the archaic language and high-flown verse, while inspiring, can also be difficult to understand even for educated Arabic speakers. And only 20% of Muslims speak Arabic as their first language. Illiteracy rates are high across the Muslim world. Many students of the Holy Book do not understand much of what they are memorising.
This needs to be kept in mind when considering who is winning the battle of the books. For some, the question is an abomination. Can't both sides win by converting the heathen? And aren't Christianity and Islam fellow Abrahamic faiths—different versions of the Truth? Others worry that the question is impossible to answer, since there are no systematic figures on the distribution of the Koran, and the battle's front-line cuts through some of the darkest and most dangerous places on the planet. Muslims would argue that their struggle was aimed more at galvanising their own flock than at converting unbelievers. But Islam's relative introversion doesn't make for peaceful coexistence. In many parts of the world, Islamic authorities have reacted furiously to attempts by Christians to entice Muslims to “apostasise” or renounce their faith; in traditional Islamic law, the penalty for apostasy is death; and encouraging believers to apostasise is also treated as a crime.
In many parts of the world, battle seems to be in progress. The Saudis will not allow the Bible to be distributed on their soil. Many Evangelical Christians are fixated on what they call the 10/40 window—the vast swathe of the Islamic world in Africa and Asia that lies between latitudes 10 and 40 north of the equator. The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas has even created a masters degree to train missionaries in the art of converting Muslims. Some Evangelicals produce counterfeit Korans that are designed to plant doubt in Muslim minds.
And the battle of the books is certainly at the heart of the battle between the two religions. People who get hold of Bibles or Korans may not read them or understand them. Unless they are introduced to the books they will certainly remain heathens. Even an imperfect report on the state of the battle tells us a lot about the world's two great missionary religions.

Salaam Centre, Bangalore
The Christians entered the 21st century with a big head start. There are 2 billion of them in the world compared with 1.5 billion Muslims. But Islam had a better 20th century than Christianity. The world's Muslim population grew from 200m in 1900 to its current levels. Christianity has shrivelled in Christendom's European heart. Islam is resurgent across the Arab world. Many Christian scholars predict that Islam will overtake Christianity as the world's largest religion by 2050.
More recently, though, Muslims complain that the “war on terror” is making it much more difficult to spread the Koran. Contributions to Muslim charities have fallen since September 11th 2001. Several charities have had their funding disrupted. Missionary organisations such as the Tablighi Jamaat are under investigation by Western intelligence services, on the grounds that they may be way-stations to jihadism. And Muslims confront much bigger long-term problems in the battle of the books.
The first is Christianity's superior marketing skills. Its religious publishing houses are big businesses. Thomas Nelson, which was once owned by a former door-to-door Bible salesman, was bought in 2005 for $473m. And secular publishing houses have also got religion: Harper Collins bought Zondervan, a religious book publisher, in the late 1980s, and now most mainstream publishers are trying to produce their own Bibles. As a result, all the tricks of the publisher's trade are being applied to the Bible.
Consider product proliferation. Thomas Nelson publishes 60 different editions of the Bible every year. The Good Book now comes in all colours, including those of your college. There are Bibles for every sort of person, from “seekers” to cowboys, from brides to barmen. There is a waterproof outdoor Bible and a camouflage Bible for use in war zones. The “100 minute Bible” summarises the Good Book for the time-starved.
Consider user-friendliness. There are prayer books in everyday vernacular or even street slang (“And even though I walk through/The Hood of death/I don't back down/for you have my back”). Or consider innovation. In 2003 Thomas Nelson dreamt up the idea of Bible-zines—crosses between Bibles and teenage magazines. The pioneer was Revolve, which intercuts the New Testament with beauty tips and relationship advice (“are you dating a Godly guy?”). This was quickly followed by Refuel, for boys, and Blossom and Explore, for tweens.
There are toddler-friendly versions of the most famous Bible stories. The “Boy's Bible” promises “gross and gory Bible stuff”. The “Picture Bible” looks like a super-hero comic. “God's Little Princess Devotional Bible” is pink and sparkly.
There are about 900 English translations of the Bible, ranging from the grandiloquent to the colloquial. There are translations into languages, such as Inupiat and Gullah, that are spoken by only handfuls of people. Bob Hudson, of the American Bible Society, wants everybody on the planet to be able to claim that “God speaks my language”. A couple of eccentric geeks have even translated the Bible into Klingon, a language spoken only by scrofulous space aliens on “Star Trek”.

Publishers are producing sophisticated dramatisations of the Bible with famous actors and state-of-the-art sound effects. Zondervan's “The Bible Experience” features every black actor in Hollywood from Denzel Washington to Samuel L. Jackson. Other outfits are making films that dramatise Bible stories as faithfully as possible.
And then there are the spin-offs. A “fully posable” Jesus doll recites famous passages of the Good Book. There are Bible quiz books, stuffed with crosswords and other word puzzles, and Bible bingo games. There are Bible colouring books, sticker books and floor puzzles. There is even a Bible-based juke box that plays your favourite biblical passages.
Muslims have also gone into the Holy Book business, but nowhere near as enthusiastically as Christians. This is partly because their commercial publishing houses are smaller and less sophisticated, but also because Muslims believe that the Koran is the literal word of God—dictated to Muhammad (who was himself illiterate) by the Angel Gabriel and then written down by Muhammad's followers. “The Koran does not document what is other than itself,” one scholar notes. “It is not about the truth. It is the truth.”
This makes Muslims uncomfortable with translations. The Holy Book says sternly that “we have sent no messenger save with the tongue of his people.” Today most Muslims tolerate translations—there are now more than 20 English translations—but do so reluctantly. Most translations are as literal as possible. Pious Muslims are expected to learn God's language.
The second advantage the Christians have is America. The world's richest and most powerful country contains some 80m Evangelicals. It supports more missionaries, more broadcasting organisations and more global publishers than any other country. Despite some countries' oil wealth, the Koran's heartland is relatively poor. The Arab world has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world, with a fifth of men and two-fifths of women unable to read. It also has one of the lowest rates of internet usage.
The third big advantage is the West's belief in religious freedom—guaranteed in America by the constitution, and in Europe by an aversion to religious persecution caused by centuries of it. The heartland of Islam, by contrast, is theocratic. The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Call and Guidance employs 120,000 people, including 72,000 imams. Saudi Arabia bans non-Islamic worship and regards attempts to convert Muslims to another faith as a criminal offence. Pakistan has witnessed the attacks on Christian missionaries. Sudan punishes “religious deviation” with imprisonment.
Christian Evangelists complain that this creates an uneven playing field: Muslims can build giant mosques in “Christian lands” while Christians are barred from distributing Bibles in Saudi Arabia and Iran. But uneven playing fields tend to weaken the home players. Open competition is a boon to religion: American Evangelism has flourished precisely because America has no official church. And theocracy is ultimately a source of sloth and conservatism. “The Book and the Koran”, by Muhammad Shahrur, which tried to reinterpret the Koran for modern readers, was widely banned in the Islamic world, despite its pious tone and huge popularity.
This state-of-the-battle report comes with a health warning. Predicting the fate of religions is unwise, for they can burn or gutter in unpredictable ways. But two things are certain in the battle of the books. The first is that the urge to spread the Word will spark some of the fiercest conflicts of the 21st century. The area that is being most heavily fought over—sub-Saharan Africa—is a tinder box of failed states and ethnic animosities. The second is that the Bible and the Koran will continue to exercise a dramatic influence over human events, for both good and ill. The twigs of the burning bush are still aflame with the fire of God.