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Momentous events since September 11, 2001-Operation Enduring Freedom, the global war on terrorism, and the war in Iraq-have dramatically altered the political environment of the Muslim world. Many of the forces influencing this environment, however, are the products of trends that have been at work for many decades. This book examines the major dynamics that drive changes in the religio-political landscape of the Muslim world-a vast and diverse region that stretches from Western Africa through the Middle East to the Southern Philippines and includes Muslim communities and diasporas throughout the world-and draws the implications of these trends for global security and U.S. and Western interests. It presents a typology of ideological tendencies in the different regions of the Muslim world and identifies the factors that produce religious extremism and violence. It assesses key cleavages along sectarian, ethnic, regional, and national lines and examines how those cleavages generate challenges and opportunities for the United States. Finally, the authors identify possible strategies and political and military options for the United States to pursue in response to changing conditions in this critical and volatile part of the world.

"The strengths of this work are its comprehensiveness, its accuracy, its relevance to existing policy concerns, and its organization of a welter of data (with well-conceived charts bringing needed clarity to complexities such as the diverse Muslim groups in Indonesia)."

- Foreign Affairs, March/April 2005

"RAND has produced an excellent overview and digest of most Islamic movements with special attention to extremist ones… An extremely useful handbook for scholars, journalists, and government officials… The studies are good mix of historical and current factors. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above."

- CHOICE Magazine, June 2005

"OUTSTANDING - Comprehensive study of the Muslim World including countries of the Mahgreb, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Central and South Asia and Nigeria. A post 9/11 examination of the trends and historic factors that contribute to the Islamic extremism and divisions between the Arab Muslim and non-Arab Muslim communities as well as the world wide diaspora. This book presents the results of innovative research and indepth assessment of a diverse and complex people and ideology little understood in the U.S."

- Recommended by a committee from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) and the Public Library Association (PLA) for the 2005 Guide to University Press Books Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries

The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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