“The Muslim World…” Book By Angel Rabasa

The book The Muslim World after 9/11 explores the dramatic changes that occurred in the Muslim world’s political environment following the incident of September 11, 2001. Rabasa et al. (2004) focus on factors causing these changes to provide scholars and policymakers with an overview of events and trends that are likely to have a significant influence on the United States’ security and interests. They start by classifying Muslims in the world based on differences defined by religious views as well as social and political orientation.

The book then examines the religious-political map of the Muslim world, focusing on two main cleavages. The first cleavage is defined by Islam’s braches, the Shia and Sunni. Rabasa et al. (2004) indicate that Sunnis are the word’s majority and the Shiites minority, comprising 85% and 15% respectfully, of the Muslim population. The Arab and non-Arab world define the second cleavage. Rabasa et al. (2004) note that while political and other aspects of Islam are filtered through an Arab lens, only 20% of global Muslims are Arabs. Political, economic, and social orders differ significantly between Arabic and non-Arabic Muslim countries. Rabasa et al. (2004) then explore factors that contribute to Islamic radicalism, classifying them into conditions, processes, and catalytic events. They later suggest how the United States can respond to the opportunities and challenges the Muslim world’s current situations pose on country’s interest.

The suggestions provided in the book are economic, political, and military options. The United States can promote the creation of moderate networks, disrupt radical systems, foster reforms in mosques and madrassas, and enhance economic opportunities, especially young Muslims (Rabasa et al., 2004). Additionally, the country can support civil Islam, deny resources to extremists, balance the need to fight against terrorism for democracy and stability in Muslim nations, and focus on engaging Islamists in normal politics. Further, the United States can establish a military relationship with key Muslim nations, create suitable military capability, and engage Muslims in the Diaspora to help pursue and safeguard their interests.


Rabasa, A. M., Thaler, D., Lesser, I., Lal, R., Karasik, T., Fair, C., Chalk, P., & Bernard, C. (2004). The Muslim world after 9/11. RAND Corporation.