soldiers of god summaries

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  Title Soldiers of God - Robert Kaplan   Islam in Middle Eastern countries    0 messages - 0 unread  What conclusions does Kaplan draw from the way Islam is practiced in various  Middle Eastern countries? Do you agree or disagree with his conclusions?  Kaplan tells of his distain for Islam and Islamic countries. Yet he comes to appreciate it more while living with the mujahidin. To Kaplan, “...the Afghans harbored no political insecurities and were more relaxed in their faith than Arabs or Iranians.” Since Afghanistan had never been colonized or industrialized by the West, they did not require a resurgence of Islam, they never lost it. Kaplan believes that the Afghans were more pure in their psyche, therefore more pure in their faith. After admitting his Jewish background to his companions, Kaplan was surprised to learn their tolerance. Very naive    Robert Coombs  Nov 20, 2010 3:29 PM  Kaplan states, “Once inside Afghanistan, Islam, like so many of the customs of these mountains, existed in a time vacuum – in vitro, like a museum piece or laboratory specimen – purified of what the twentieth century had done to it in Pakistan, Iran, and elsewhere. (Kaplan, 1718)” Afghanistan is similar to the Catholic Church, whereas it takes a long time to change. Kaplan posits an individual respect for religion where the relationship with Allah and individual is personal. He contradicts this to Iranian and other Islamic societies where he believes it is more group based with individuals leading the masses. I disagree with him on many of what I believe naive or suffering from a slight Stockholm syndrome. I found Afghanistan and the moving tribes to be massively controlled by the local Imam who was typically the only literate individual in the village. Even in the city bases, the local populace followed the Imam because of the increased knowledge. Another issue of Islamic society I disagreed with him on is pedophilia and homosexuality. He stated he did not witness it in the society of which he was part. But Afghanistan and the North Western parts of Pakistan is rife with homosexuality and pedophilia. Over 80% of the Afghan populace has or had homosexual relations. This isn’t a behavior that just develops over 20 years in a country that is sanctioned by the Islamic culture. Afghanistan develops over centuries, not years. This led me to question his revelations on both Islam and sorties into the country. Granted it has been about eight years since I have been to Afghanistan, but I had more interaction with the populace
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covering the Pakistan borders from Kandahar up through Jalalabad. Khyber Pass    0 messages - 0 unread  What troubles did the British have in their attempts at crossing the Khyber Pass in the  1800s? What ethnic group protected the pass and what did they do for survival in the  area?  Kaplan describes many attempts to cross and control the Khyber Pass. From Alexander to Babur to the British Army, he describes the tail of Dr. William Brydon who was the
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