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The riddle of Islam: American images and interpretations, 1945-1960.

The essay looks at sources from popular culture, the academic community, and the United States government to argue that Americans have considered Islam as a significant political force since the end of World War II. Concerned Americans believed Islam offered them a crucial intellectual tool for coming to terms with the Middle East during the Cold War. Furthermore, the essay contends that these interpretations of Islam comprise but one piece, or strain, of a dominant mindset that guided how Americans viewed and understood the region between 1945 and 1967.


In August 1951, Time magazine published an overview of Islamic history with a brief introductory commentary suggesting to its readers the significance of the Muslim world in the post-World War II era. The unnamed author argued that "Islam is poor, a sad fate for the only great religion founded by a successful businessman. Islam is divided and headless, a painful fate for a religion founded by a first-rate practical politician. Islam is militarily feeble, a disgrace to a religion that so eagerly took up the sword. Islam is intellectually stagnant, an ironic punishment for a religion which was founded upon an idea which for centuries carried the lamp of learning, and then, at the crisis of its history, deliberately turned its back upon reason as the enemy of faith." Yet, the author claimed, despite all of these shortcomings, Islam somehow remained both strong and important, as the Muslim world might "be the area of decision in the struggle between the West and Communism." (1) But how could Islam be both weak and strong? How did Americans try to make sense of what the author referred to as "the riddle of Islam," and what did they believe its implications were for the Middle East's role in the world and for U.S. relations with the region? To try to answer these questions, I have looked at sources on three levels--the popular, such as Time and Life, the academic and expert, such as the Council on Foreign Relations and Foreign Affairs, and the governmental, such as the CIA and the State Department, among others.

Before beginning that story, however, I first want to submit three propositions as a means of suggesting what an analysis of American images and interpretations of Islam between 1945 and 1960 offers us. The first of these propositions relates to the continuously proliferating body of literature addressing U.S. relations with "political" Islam and the potential for an enduring "clash of civilizations" between the two. Most of these works--by scholars like Edward Said, Samuel Huntington, Fred Halliday, and John Esposito--assume that American policy makers, academics, and popular writers have only thought seriously about Islam and its significance in U.S.-Middle Eastern relations since the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s. (2) Even Fawaz Gerges, who claims his new book America and Political Islam "provides critical historical perspective," treats the pre-Iran years in a mere five pages" (3) While such a foreshortened view of U.S. thinking about Islam and its role in international politics might be acceptable when looking at current policy discussions, I argue here that the evidence shows Americans have thought about Islam in a political sense since at least the end of World War II.

The second proposition is that Islam provided a critical, although certainly not the only, conceptual key for Americans who tried to understand the Middle East within an evolving Cold War context from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s. To be sure, policy makers viewed the Middle East in these years through a Cold War lens. As I will demonstrate, however, Americans turned to Islam to help them understand the Middle East and the nature of its politics. In the process, the images and interpretations of Islam in the Middle East that American observers and analysts arrived at proved crucial to their determinations of how to pursue Cold War objectives.

My third proposition is that we cannot investigate how Americans have understood Islam in isolation from their analyses of other significant ideological forces at play in the Middle East in this period. Part of what follows looks closely at how policy makers, area specialists, and commentators related the role of Islam in Middle Eastern societies to an evolving Arab nationalism in the late 1950s. But one could also consider how Americans have linked their interpretations of Islam with their firmly held belief in the benefits that economic and political modernization would bring to the region. Indeed, I would suggest that each of these themes function as interlocking strains in a body of American thought about the Middle East, and that we must try to deal with them as such. (4)

Now to return to the story. The emerging Cold War and the dramatic expansion of U.S. global interests brought an unprecedented level of American involvement in the Middle East at the conclusion of World War II. The primary reason the region had become so important was because the Islamic world, and especially the Middle East, was a critical player in the Cold War. The Middle East contained a significant portion of the world's oil, which Americans believed could not be allowed to fall under the control of the Soviet Union. In addition, the Suez Canal formed part of a vital trade route that facilitated the transport of oil and other goods through the region. (5) Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, several primarily Muslim countries had recently acquired their independence, creating the potential of a powerful international block that could possibly decide the outcome of the Cold War. The New York 77rues Magazine expressed this sentiment most strongly in an April 1952 article entitled "Peace May Be in Moslem Hands," in which it argued that "the attitude of the Moslem countries toward the West might easily determine the future of every American, Britisher [sic] or Frenchman." (6)

At the start of the Cold War, Americans already had a vision of the land and people in this critical region. Fuad Sha'ban and Robert Allison have demonstrated that from the founding of their republic Americans have viewed the Middle East through a framework that relied heavily not only on the orientalist views provided by their European heritage, but also on aspects derived from New World experiences. (7) The belief that the creation of the United States served as an allegory for the founding of a new Jerusalem, popular in eighteenth and nineteenth century America, strengthened pre-existing spiritual ties to the Holy Land. It motivated missionaries to attempt to gain converts to both Christianity and to the American style of politics and democracy. A large and widely-read body of American literature and travelogues, the most well-known of which was Mark Twain's Innocents Abroaad, added to this vision of the region. These works often began with the anticipation of seeing a romanticized Middle East, and ended with the disappointment of a dream unfulfilled. (8) Finally, the advent of U.S. business interests in the area in the 1930s and the nation's involvement in World War II increased Americans' exposure to the region.

Out of the combination of these various traditions, there emerged at the end of World War II two general sets of widely held stereotypes and impressions that helped define the limits within which most discussion of the Middle East occurred during the early Cold War. (9) The first set focused on the region as a whole, and emphasized its structural flaws. For example, American commentators found the Middle East to be economically and politically backward, perhaps even feudal. Paradoxically, the Arab Middle East appeared to be militarily weak after the 1948 war with Israel, as the opening quote from the Time article suggested, despite the even more firmly established stereotype of Muslims as a martial people who had willingly and successfully taken up the sword at various points earlier in their history.

The second set of stereotypes included a variety of impressions that centered on the character of Arabs and Muslims. American observers portrayed Arabs as fatalistic, accepting their position in life--whether good or bad--as being willed by God. Arabs were also supposed to be impressed with great orations, and loved to while away time telling tales, rather than working hard. Americans believed Arabs and Muslims were emotional, which meant they could be devious and deceitful, or be incited to mob violence by charismatic leaders. To Americans, no single Arab or Muslim demonstrated these characteristics more fully than Haj Amin el Husseini, better known as the Mufti of Jerusalem and as an instigator of mob violence against Jews in the 1930s and 1940s. An article in Life described him as a "feared ... killer," "foxy," and "a fanatic." (10) Likewise, Loy Henderson (Director of the State Department's Office of Near Eastern and African Affairs) wrote to the Secretary of State in 1947 that the Mufti was a "fanatical extremist," and the U.S. Consul General at Jerusalem in 1948 argued that Husseini was "the central figure on the Arab stage and ... ruthless in the pursuit of [his] aims." (11)

As analysts gave more attention to the psychological aspects of the Cold War from the late 1940s through the mid1950s, they began to try to characterize the Arab mind and to ask why the Middle East was the way it appeared in those stereotypes and impressions. Policy makers believed they needed to understand how the Muslim mind worked so that it would be possible to draw a supposedly monolithic Islamic bloc towards the United States and the West during the Cold War. They therefore became much more concerned with the role that Islam played in defining the behavior, culture, economics, and politics of the region's peoples. Two reports, by the State Department's Office of Intelligence Research in 1952 and the Psychological Strategy Board in February 1953, explored the "Arab mind" in detail. (12)

While the reports dealt with several issues, the question of Islam was central to their findings. The Psychological Strategy Board report stated that "no consideration of the traditional Arab mind is possible without taking into consideration the all pervading influence of the Muslim faith on Arab thinking." The report stressed the ways in which the religion seemed to control all Muslims' outlooks on society, politics, family life, gender relations, and the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims. On this final point, the report even warned of a possible future confrontation with Islam: "When Islam dominates[,] it is regarded as the natural order of things; rule and authority exercised by non-Muslims is regarded as unnatural and an indication that Islam is weakening and must gather its forces and counterattack to regain its ordained supremacy." (13)

The overarching theme of these and most other American interpretations of Islam in the late 1940s and early 1950s was that the religion and its adherents were in the midst of a crisis that might have important implications for U.S. relations with the Middle East" (14) Several analysts argued that ever since the end of the nineteenth century, and especially since the end of World War I, the modern Western world had rapidly introduced massive technological, political, economic, and intellectual changes to a still medieval Middle East. According to the 1952 Office of Intelligence Research report Problems and Attitudes in the Arab World, the people of the region responded to these changes within "a religiously-inspired way of life which, born in a static, pre-scientific, pre-national era, lack[ed] the institutions and perhaps the philosophical premises through which to revitalize its traditions." (15) Moreover, many people of the Middle East were struggling to break free of European imperialism during this period. Not only were they resentful of all forms of Western involvement in the region, but they were being forced to enter the modern world through the European vehicle of the national political state. Professor Wilfred Smith nicely summarized the argument in the Foreign Policy Bulletin in October 1951 by emphasizing the total integration of Islamic life and contending that economic and political dislocation, along with military defeat in the 1948 war with Israel, had created a "spiritual crisis" throughout the Islamic Middle East. (16)

Continuing to think about this spiritual crisis and how the Middle East might work its way out of it, American policy makers and area specialists in the early 1950s grew concerned about the possibility of a pan-Islamic revolution. The Office of Intelligence Research report stated that "Islam provides the vast majority of Arabs with common religious, political, social, legal and economic symbols strong enough to enlist the loyalty of the majority of peasants, nomads, and artisans and to demand at least the outward obeisance of all politicians and many bureaucrats, traders, professional men, and students." (17) At the same time, according to these analysts, Muslims would recognize that the secular ideas and innovations introduced by heavy Western involvement were at the roots of the crisis and thus, for the most part, reject them. The notion of Western nationalism provided the most prominent exception to this assertion. Americans feared that Muslims might link this powerful concept to a call for a return to a purified Islam, and try to overturn the unnatural state of affairs that had placed them under the domination of non-Muslims. The result would be a destabilizing, violently anti-Western pan-Islamic revolution, with potentially dire consequences for the outcome of the Cold War. (18)

American observers and commentators made the Muslim Brotherhood the focal point of their concerns about a possible pan-Islamic revolution during this period. From the end of World War II until the mid-1950s the Brotherhood was a powerful political force throughout much of the Middle East, but especially in Egypt. The group held great appeal for an emerging middle class of professionals, students, artisans, and merchants, and was willing to use violence to achieve its primary objective--the establishment of a modern political state based on Islam. While the Brotherhood never appealed to a majority of Middle Eastern Muslims, American analysts did wonder if the group's polarizing practices and rhetoric would eventually destabilize significant portions of the region, particularly Egypt, and thus lead to a reassertion of Islamic pride and the drive for unity. (19)

With the United States facing ever more serious problems in the Middle East in the mid-to late 1950s, and with the apparent crisis of Islam continuing to deepen, anxious American observers started to look more closely at the role of Islam in international affairs. A Department of the Army paper circulating through the National Security Council and the Operations Coordinating Board in 1955 promoted a greater emphasis on religion by noting that while the "politics, geopolitics, sociology, ethnology and to some extent the history and cultures" of other peoples had been "studiously explored," "the most important subject of all, namely, the religious situation as it bears upon all these other factors, has been curiously ignored." Such neglect seemed "all the more extraordinary when it is remembered that the religious beliefs and usages of any given people afford the surest key to their psychology, culture and historical conduct." (20) Responding to such concerns, two organizations created formal study groups to examine the role of Islam in international affairs as a serious policy problem. The National Security Council created its own working group on religion, with a sub-group focusing on Islam meeting between 1955 and 1957 (Buddhism was the only other religion to be singled out), and the Council on Foreign Relations convened a study group on Islam in 1958 and 1959. The two groups hoped to discover how the Middle East might work its way out of its "crisis," how a pan-Islamic revolution might be averted, and what the United States might do to try to help achieve these objectives.

As the two study groups took shape, they reflected a subtle shift taking place in American thinking about the Islamic Middle East. The Cold War context of course provided a major stimulus to the formation of the two groups, as they were both also to explore the relationship between Islam and possible Soviet intrusion into the region. In addressing this question before the creation of the NSC group, the Department of the Army paper quoted above argued that "Mohammedanism appears to offer a strong resistance to the spread of communism." Such an outcome would require the improbable scenario of an emotionally charged Muslim population becoming totally apathetic. Moreover, Islam's continued strength among the masses combined with its internal divisions suggested the focus of the primary question needed to be changed to reflect those factors. In fact, the paper declared, Islam had become "no less a world force than communism and ... our strategists and the makers of our foreign policy must reckon with it as such." (21) Thus, while the Cold War remained the most important issue in international affairs, no longer was the Muslim world worth studying simply because of its critical role in that conflict. Rather, it had become an area of significance in its own right.

Most American analysts concurred that a Communist takeover of the Middle East was unlikely and that the Muslim world needed to understood as a powerful region in its own right, so they therefore turned their full attention to the question of a pan-Islamic revolution. (22) The Council on Foreign Relations Study Group's most significant conclusion--or prediction--was that Islam would lose to modernity, particularly as it was expressed in the form of Arab nationalism, in the fight for dominance in the Middle East. According to the study group, several signs indicated that the perceived Muslim monolith had fractured in numerous spots. A telling example was that the Constitution of the newly formed United Arab Republic did not acknowledge Islam as the state's official religion. Furthermore, the group argued that any real nation state-based pan-Islamic movement was doomed to failure, because it would reject integration into an increasingly modern and interconnected world and thereby severely restrict its economic and political viability. Therefore, no real threat of a pan-Islamic revolution existed.

The Study Group's members, however, did not discount the significance of Islam even though they believed that Arab nationalism and modernity would supercede the religion as the dominant force in the Middle East. They still saw Islam playing a crucial supporting role and considered the Muslim Middle East an area for concern. Islam would buttress Arab nationalism ideologically and thus help broaden its appeal. Islam's emphasis on the community over the individual would, the Study Group concluded, provide the basic justification for pan-Arabism. Islam would further support the aims of Arab nationalism by providing for the presence of "the strong man" in Middle Eastern politics. The Group noted that Muslims would follow an especially charismatic or powerful leader because they would see that he had been destined by Allah to lead the community and should therefore be honored and respected. (23) And, even with the threat of a pan-Islamic revolution discounted, pan-Arabism still kept open the possibility that a united, strong, and perhaps even vindictive Islamic Middle East might try to threaten U.S. and Western interests. The Study Group argued that there remained powerful divisions between Muslims and Christians that could easily be transferred onto the animosity the formerly colonized Middle East felt for its Western imperial master.

The problem that remained for the Study Group was to determine the course that U.S. foreign policy should take. The group saw no easy solutions. On the one hand, supporting Arab nationalist regimes such as Nasser's promoted modernization in some form, and seemed to limit the power of Islam, but at the price of continued instability that might be just as difficult for the United States in a still-dangerous Cold War World. On the other hand, backing more "traditional" monarchies like King Saud's in Saudi Arabia provided stability and control, but rejected modernity in favor of what the analysts believed to be a corrupt and ruthless medieval Islam. This debate would unfold from the late 1950s to the late 1960s, when the "Three Pillars" policy finally emerged and turned American policy toward support of the more traditional regimes in Iran and Saudi Arabia.

By way of conclusion, I would like to revisit the three propositions I stated at the outset, and use them to pose some questions, not just about American interpretations of Islam, but about the wider study of U.S.-Middle Eastern relations. First, regarding the increasing U.S. concern with political Islam, Bassam Tibi contends in The Challenge of Fundamentalism that the argument that Islam has always been political does not take into account the ways in which other intellectual forces, most notably pan-Arabism, pushed Islam aside between World War I and 1967. (24) I would argue, however, that while Tibi's point may be true when looked at from within the Middle East, it is less accurate when considered from the outside. From the perspective of American observers and interpreters from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, Islam was "political." Their visions and interpretations of the Middle East may have been flawed, but they still warrant our attention because they helped define U.S. policy toward the region. I would therefore suggest that the current fascination with U.S. relations with political Islam since the Iranian Revolution will leave us with an incomplete understanding unless it takes into greater account and looks more closely at the historical aspects of that relationship.

The evidence also supports my second proposition: that Islam was a crucial area of analysis that provided a conceptual key to Americans who tried to understand the Middle East during the early Cold War. Coming to terms with Islam, they argued, would offer insights that would help guide the United States in its relations with a critical region of the world during a very dangerous time. Here, though, we still need to ask whether the presence of Islam in the Middle East has made U.S. relations with the region during the Cold War exceptional in any way. For example, some of the same stereotypes I discussed earlier were also applied to Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Did the presence of Islam in the Middle East make them either more or less understandable in that context? Further, did the significance that analysts, policy makers and popular writers granted to Islam mean that they treated the Middle East differently than they did the rest of the Third World?

My third proposition presents more difficult challenges. I have tried to argue here that American analyses of Arab nationalism were fundamentally linked to their interpretations of Islam and its role in the post-World War II Middle East. I would push even further, though, and suggest that these are two of several strains in a dominant, though not uncontested, mindset that shaped American thinking about the Middle East between 1945 and 1967 and in some ways remains with us today. Pursuing this line of research, however, forces us to confront two daunting questions. First, from a practical standpoint, how do we initially separate and then recombine these very complex themes in a way that renders them manageable and comprehensible while also demonstrating the very intricate ways in which they were intertwined? Second, how do we satisfy the desire for specificity within and explicit connections between our discussions of popular culture, academic and expert analysis, and the government? There is compelling evidence, if not always concrete, that the same ideas were circulating on all three levels, that they provided a critical background for U.S. relations with the Middle East, and were thus part of a dominant mindset for understanding or thinking about the Middle East. But certainly not all Americans subscribed to that mindset, and some opposed it vigorously. In short, I am acknowledging here that the term "American," which appears frequently in this essay, is vague and ambiguous, and asking how we might work around it.


(1) "The Moslem World," Time, 13 August 1951, 28.

(2) Edward Said, Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World (New York: Pantheon Books, 1981; Samuel Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations?," Foreign Affairs 72 (Summer 1993): 22-49; Fred Halliday, Islam and the Myth of Confrontation: Religion and Politics in the Middle East (New York: I.B. Tauris, 1996); and John L. Esposito, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).

(3) Fawaz A. Gerges, America and Political Islam: Clash of Cultures or Clash of Interests? (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999): xi, 37-42. Portions of the book have been published in different forms as Fawaz A. Gerges, "Islam and Muslims in the Mind of America: Influences on the Making of U.S. Policy," Journal of Palestine Studies XXVI (Winter 1997): 68-80; and Fawaz A. Gerges, "The Clinton Approach to Political Islam: Rhetoric vs. Reality, Three Case Studies: Egypt, Algeria, and Turkey," Council on Foreign Relations, 1999, available online at, accessed on 12 February 1999.

(4) My dissertation, tentatively titled "The Middle East on the Mind: Cultural Stereotypes and U.S. Foreign Policy, 1945-1967," explores precisely this issue.

(5) This point has been made by several authors, and can be noted in any survey of U.S.-Middle East relations. See, for example, H.W. Brands, Into the Labyrinth: The United States and the Middle East, 1945-1963 (New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1994) and Burton Kaufmann, The United States and the Arab Middle East: Inter-Arab Rivalry and Superpower Diplomacy (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1996).

(6) Rom Landau, "Peace May Be in Moslem Hands," New York Times Magazine, 6 April 1952, 14.

(7) Fuad Sha'ban, Islam and Arabs in Early American Thought: The Roots of Orientalism in America (Durham, NC: The Acorn Press, 1991) and Robert J. Allison, The Crescent Obscured: The United States and the Muslim World, 1776-1815 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).

(8) In addition to Sha'ban, Islam and Arabs in Early American Thought, see Douglas Little, "Gideon's Band: America and the Middle East since 1945," in Michael J. Hogan, ed., America in the World: The Historiography of American Foreign Relations Since 1941 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995): 462-500, especially 462; and Michael W. Suleiman, The Arabs in the Mind of America (Brattleboro, VT: Amana Books, 1988).

(9) Material describing Arabs and Muslims in the terms described in this and the next paragraph is taken from both popular and official sources: Ted Berkman, "This is the Arab," American Mercury 65 (November 1947): 528-535; "The World of Islam," Life 38 (9 May 1955): 73-92; "The Moslem World," Time, 13 August 1951: 28-33; "Report of the Near East Regional Conference in Cairo," 16 March 1950, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950: 2-8; Central Intelligence Agency, SR-13: The Arab States, 1949, in CIA Research Reports: The Middle East, 1946-1976, Microfilm Collection, Paul Kesaris, ed., (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1983); Office of Intelligence Research, Problems and Attitudes in the Arab World: Their Implications for US Psychological Strategy, 1952, in O.S.S./State Department Intelligence and Research Reports, XII, The Middle East, 1950-1961, Supplement, Microfilm Collection, Paul Kesaris, ed., (Washington, D.C.: University Publications of America, 1979), reel 1; and Psychological Strategy Board, D-22, "Psychological Strategy Program for the Middle East," 6 February 1953, Master Book of Vol. III (8), Psychological Strategy Board Documents, Box 16, NSC Registry Series, Records of the NSC Staff, 1948-1961, White House Office Files, Eisenhower Library.

(10) James Bell, "Mystery Man of Islam Speaks," Life 33 (27 October 1952): 145-153.

(11) Henderson to the Secretary of State, 9/22/47, Foreign Relations of the United States: 1947, Volume V. 1153-1158; and the Consul General at Jerusalem (Macatee) to the Secretary of State, 2/9/48, FRUS: 1948, Volume V, pt. II: 609-611.

(12) Office of Intelligence Research, Problems and Attitudes in the Arab World; and Psychological Strategy Board, D-22, "Psychological Strategy Program for the Middle East."

(13) Psychological Strategy Board, D-22, "Psychological Strategy Program for the Middle East," Annex B, "Analysis of the Middle East Mind, Basic and Current Attitudes," 4-5.

(14) The basic argument is expressed in each of the intelligence reports cited above, as well as in, among other sources, Robert Montagne, "Modern Nations and Islam," Foreign Affairs 30 (July 1952): 580-592; Daniel M. Friedenberg, "The Flaming Crescent," New Republic, 30 August 1954: 20-21; and Ishaq Husseini, "Islam Past and Present: The Basic Beliefs of the Muslim Faith," in "Perspective of the Arab World: An Atlantic Supplement," The Atlantic Monthly 98 (October 1956): 169-172.

(15) Office of Intelligence Research, Problems and Attitudes in the Arab World, 16.

(16) Wilfred Cantwell Smith, "The Muslims and the West," Foreign Policy Bulletin, 1 October 1951, 6. Smith later published a book-length analysis of the crisis of modern Islam, titled Islam in Modern History (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1957), that was widely read in academic and policy-making circles. It was even a prominent topic of discussion in a Council on Foreign Relations Study Group on Islam. See "Digest of Discussion: The Middle East and Modern Islam, First Meeting," George E. Gruen, Rapporteur, Council on Foreign Relations Archives; and John J. Donohue, "State of the Question: The World of Islam Passes Through a Crisis," America, vol. 99, 27 September 1958: 671-672. It is worth noting that in neither instance was there fundamental disagreement with Smith's thesis. Rather, he was criticized because the study group found his definition of Islam to broad, while Donohue found it to be too narrow.

(17) Office of Intelligence Research, Problems and Attitudes in the Arab World, 15.

(18) In addition to the Office of Intelligence Research, Problems and Attitudes in the Arab World, see Smith, Islam and Modern History and James Morris, Islam Inflamed (New York: Pantheon Books, 1957).

(19) Smith, Islam and Modern History, 156-160; "Spearhead for Islam: The Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt," Christian Century 65 (25 August 1948): 851-3; "Moslem Brotherhood: Terrorists or Just Zealots," Reporter 8 (17 March 1953): 8-10; and Husseini, "Islam Past and Present," 171.

(20) Department of the Army, "Recommendations Concerning Study of Religious Factors in International Strategy," p. 1, c. 1955, OCB 000.3 [Religion] (File 1) (2), February 1954-January 1957, Box 2, OCB Central Files, Records of the NSC Staff, White House Office Files, Dwight Eisenhower Presidential Library.

(21) Department of the Army, "Recommendations Concerning Study of Religious Factors in International Strategy," 10; and Records of the Study Group on the Middle East and Modern Islam, 1958-1960, Council on Foreign Relations.

(22) The following remarks are drawn from John Badeau, "Islam and the Modern Middle East," Foreign Affairs 38 (October 1959): 61-74, and Records of the Study Group on the Middle East and Modern Islam, especially the "Digest of Discussion: Sixth Meeting, May 18, 1959," Council on Foreign Relations. The following discussion focuses specifically on the Council on Foreign Relations Study Group, largely because all of its materials are available to researchers while the records of the government group are not. Moreover, the emphasis on the Council group is not misplaced, as its participants included members of the government, academia, the business world, and, on some occasions, journalists, and it thus reflected a relatively wider spectrum of American thinking about Islam.

(23) Badeau, "Islam and the Modern Middle East," 73.

(24) Bassam Tibi, The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1998), 96.

Matthew F. Jacobs, Department of History, University of North Carolina
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Author:Jacobs, Matthew F.
Publication:United States & the Middle East
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:70MID
Date:Jan 1, 1999
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