Theodore Dalrymple has written a review of Efraim Karsh's Islamic Imperialism : A History. It sounds like a book well worth reading. Unsurprisingly, considering the generally high quality of his writing, Dalrymple's review is itself well worth reading. After giving a generally positive review to the book itself (which, as the title suggests, shows that Islam has always been as much about politics and power as about religion), Dalrymple offers this insight:
Karsh seems to oscillate between believing that Islamic imperialism is just a variant of imperialism in general—imperialism being more or less a permanent manifestation of the human will to power—and believing that there is something sui generis and therefore uniquely dangerous about it.
I hesitate to rush in where so many better-informed people have hesitated to tread, or have trodden before, but I would put it like this. The urge to domination is nearly a constant of human history. The specific (and baleful) contribution of Islam is that, by attributing sovereignty solely to God, and by pretending in a philosophically primitive way that God’s will is knowable independently of human interpretation, and therefore of human interest and desire—in short by allowing nothing to human as against divine nature—it tries to abolish politics. All compromises become mere truces; there is no virtue in compromise in itself. Thus Islam is inherently an unsettling and dangerous factor in world politics, independently of the actual conduct of many Muslims.
Hat tip: Independent Women's Forum