Warriors of the Prophet


The Struggle for Islam

Based on eyewitness accounts and original interviews, this bold new work provides a vivid portrayal of the evolving political and cultural role played by Islamic fundamentalist movements. Drawing on his first-hand experiences, Mark Huband moves deep inside the contemporary Islamic movements of countries as diverse as Morocco and Afghanistan. Huband reveals how Western powers have contributed to the rise of Islamic movements by their earlier support of the Afghan Islamic resistance and gives detailed accounts of his discussions with militant groups, Muslim scholars, and political opponents of the Islamic movements.


Basic Books (September 24, 1999)
ISBN-10: 0813327814
ISBN-13: 978-0813327815

Enriching these discussions, the author contextualizes the movements by exploring their historical and intellectual framework. The book uniquely illustrates the variety found within the movements, as well as the range of relationships the Islamic movements have to the various countries in which they are active.

Warriors of the Prophet details the current crisis in Algeria; the disappointments of Arab nationalism and socialist experiments in Egypt; the social breakdown of Somalia in relation to the ideal of an Islamic way of life; the disaffected youth in the Islamic movements of Morocco, Egypt, and elsewhere; and the Islamic experiment and its relationship with the non-Islamic world as revealed in Sudan’s experience since 1989. Through these insightful accounts, Huband gives us a penetrating exploration of one of the major issues of the late twentieth century.

Commentary on Warriors of the Prophet:

In these probing dispatches, Financial Times Cairo correspondent Huband examines how Islam has reasserted itself in global politics, presenting the views of political figures, dissidents and Muslim scholars in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia to show the evolution of the “Islamic Revival.” In Algeria, a resurgent Islamist movement of anti-French intellectuals, the unemployed and militant veterans of Afghanistan’s mujahideen attacks Algeria’s political/military elite for perpetuating colonialism through its ties to French business interests. In Sudan, a nine-year experiment to build an Islamic theocratic state has brought stagnation to a country ravaged by a civil war that has claimed a million lives. In the patchwork of warring clans that Somalia comprises, armed Islamic groups vie for a role in government, claiming that only the implementation of Muhammad’s original teachings will save the nation from further anarchy. Huband argues that contemporary militant Islam represents a historic phase of the evolving religion. Huband’s emphasis is intentionally on the more radical, militant end of the spectrum, rather than on the mainstream, but his survey still subverts the conventional Western view of Islam as a homogenous movement intent upon returning to an idealized past.
Publishers Weekly

Religious violence is a major issue right now, and Islam is a prime suspect in our press. Huband, Cairo correspondent for the Financial Times, has spent many years in Islamic countries and has interviewed a number of the major actors in the field. He discusses eight countries separately including Algeria, Morocco, and Afghanistan and concludes that Islamic revivalism is a destabilizing result of colonialism, for the unifying force of independence is religion, not nationalism. He argues that Islam is evolving according to its own cultural milieu and that militants and radicals are prominent because they reflect the social upheaval of each country and not the tenets of the faith. The depth of Huband’s knowledgeable analysis makes his book best suited for experts.
Library Journal

Islam is a popular subject these days; however, popular understanding of the Middle East and the pertinence of Islam to its history is still often misguided and misunderstood. Huband, a long-time Middle East correspondent, offers an intelligent look at the politics of various Islamic nations of North Africa and the Middle East, ranging from Morocco to Afghanistan. Many militant Islamic groups were originally given U.S. training during the Afghan War. As these young soldiers returned to their generally impoverished nations, the determination for a theocratic Islamic government evolved, and the power of the militant groups grew stronger. In placing these militant movements within historical context and a geographic milieu, Huband can better explain how and why Islamists have declared war on westernization, socialism, secularism, and Zionism. Although some knowledge of Islam is presupposed, this is a good introduction to the intricacies of political currents in the Arab-Islamic bloc of nations.

A highly entertaining book that comes at a most opportune time
Copley News Service

An excellent and important work
François Burgat, author: Islamisme au Maghreb and l’Islamisme en face

An interesting and timely study which should be read with careful attention
Sir Allen Ramsay, former British Ambassador to Morocco