15. Of Virgins and Martyrs: Women and Sexuality in Global Conflict by David Jacobson

First of all, let me say that this is the coolest cover EVER for any book I have ever read. The woman's eyes are amazing against the purple head covering. Perfect.

I finished this book two weeks ago, and I cannot tell you how many times I have referred back to it whenever I hear a news report or have a discussion with others about what is happening around the Muslim world. This book will inform your perspective in very profound ways. I cannot recommend it highly enough. 

In his introduction, the author states, "I have endeavored to make the text as accessible as possible to the interested general reader, while (I trust) not sacrificing the rigor of argument and supporting evidence" (p. 18)

I believe he strikes the perfect balance between good scholarship and readability for the common man! I could not put this book down. 

Jacobson explains global terrorism in its cultural context rather than generalizing and blaming it all on the religion of Islam. He does this by using the Tribalism Index:

The Tribalism Index is able, on its own, to explain a remarkable 68 percent of rates of religiously motivated violence (based on data drawn from tabulations of the National Counterterrorism Center [NCTC] for 2005 to 2010.) This influence is dramatic— the likelihood of a national from a country with a tribalism score of 1.0 causing a terrorist incident is 6.5 million times higher than a national from a hypothetical state scoring 0. If we add additional variables of social globalization, Muslim percent of population, and per capita GDP, we can account for 93 percent of the religiously motivated violence. . . we are able to isolate tribal patriarchy as a major factor in driving religiously motivated violence when we seek to predict the patterns shown in NCTC data. We are able to state, with assurance, that a state’s movement from one end of the tribal patriarchy spectrum to the other predicts an extraordinary increase in the production of religious violence on the part of nationals. (p. 118)
Simply put, Muslim societies are somewhat less violent than their non-Muslim counterparts if we factor out the presence of tribalism. However, when increasing Muslim population is combined with high levels of tribal patriarchy, religiously motivated violence is more likely to be exported across national borders. (p. 118) 
On top of this, he is able to predict how tribal patriarchy affects groups of people who migrate to other countries, specifically Britain and France. He comes to the fascinating conclusion "the French republican model, with its stress on assimilation, works better than British multiculturalism, with respect to Muslim women’s progress and to national integration in the respective countries" (p.18). So fascinating!

This review cannot possibly convey the brilliance of this book. It is revolutionary and should be a part of college global studies courses and read by anyone dealing with the Muslim world.  

The only drawback of the Kindle version is that the author's charts are difficult to read and cannot be enlarged, but I was able to find similar charts online here:


The difficulty reading the charts has nothing to do with the content. Therefore, I still give this a full five star rating. 

I was sent a complimentary Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
1 comment

Popular posts from this blog

Snapfish versus Shutterfly

8. Prayer: The Mightiest Force in the World by Frank C. Laubach

My Beloved Charter