Islam and the Discovery of Freedom Reviewed by Mohammad Yousuf Ades

[The following article published in the Egyptian periodical Al-Misrioun that mentions our publication Islam and the Discovery of Freedom recently came to our attention.]

Islam and the Discovery of Freedom by Mohammad Yousuf Ades
Translated from the Original Arabic in Al-Misriuon (20 – 2 – 2008)

Michael Moorcock, a U.S. citizen plain of Texas birthplace of the Bush family, sent a letter extended to the British newspaper The Independent that has captured my interest for a period of time. He was motivated to write this letter – as he explained – by two things: first, praise for the journalist and British author “Robert Fisk,” praising a series of revealing lectures in the United States about the reality of Arab-Israeli conflict; secondly, to apologize to his fellow Britons for the perpetration by American media of lies and flattening of the facts, and stressing that everybody you know of people in his area do not believe the statements of Washington regarding the problems of the Middle East, which promoted these instruments, so they left
them for the British satellite TV and the web of foreign newspapers in search for the right information.

Sealing Moorcock’s message, Pulse Magazine says: “The people here satirize the slogans that flow from the U.S. administration, “The real axis of evil is Enron, Monsanto and the Bush administration.” Michael Moorcock ‘s message is not unique in the United States. It is a trend gradually growing, but with determination and strength in the face of madness of American politics and manifestations of imperialism. This means that the voice of reason and wisdom is still vibrant and healthy, although ignored or overlooked.

In this intellectual climate my son and my friend gave me a book that impressed and surprised me. The book is Islam and the Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder lane. That name comes up frequently in literary circles as a researcher discovered that it belongs to the author of polished children’s books famously titled The Little House on the Prairie series. Those books, which were turned into dozens of TV dramas, had already published under the name of her mother, Laura Engels Wilder.

Rose Wilder Lane is famous for her intellectual and practical moral commitment to the cause of freedom, and pressed to defend this case, she authored a book in this subject entitled “Discovery of Freedom” and its
subtitle shows the content of the “clash of rights against the tyranny of power.” The author says: “I wrote this book in a white heat”, however it was soon withdrawn from the market after she learned that it contained some historical errors. But the agent who re-published the book later confirms that these errors did not have any negative impact on the essence of the message contained in the book, and the author’s high sense of moral responsibility is what made her withdraw copies of the book from circulation.

Rose Wilder Lane was born in 1886 to her mother, Laura, as I have already indicated, while her father was Almanzo Wilder. In this name is an exciting story. She reached the peak of her fame in 1936 through a series of articles published in the magazine The Saturday Evening Post.

Contact with the Muslim world:

Rose Lane had volunteered to work as a reporter interviewing the International Red Cross after the First World War, in order to observe them and record reports on the activities of this organization in the
Balkans, Russia and the Middle East. This work gave the opportunity to have direct contact with the Islamic world and Muslims, and she gained rich experience that deepened her vision of the realities of this world that served her long-held intellectual curiosity. Since her childhood she had an interest in a firm tradition handed down in her family throughout the ages, and perhaps one that opened her mind to Islam, its history and his exploits, because Rose Lane knew they a chivalrous Muslim Arab knight saved her grandfather from  death during the Crusades in Palestine. Reporting on this incident, Henry Gray Weaver in his book entitled “Mainspring of human progress” published in 1953, says the English knight wounded in the Crusades and almost perished but that an Arab treated and then released him. In recognition of this beautiful act the knight pledged that his descendants generation after generation would bear his rescuer’s name, and here the father of Rose Wilder Lane was carrying name Almanzo — Weaver says: It seems that the origin of the name is “Al-Mansour”.

Conflict or Dialogue?

Dr. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad saw to the publication of the chapter on Islam from the book The Discovery of Freedom because it has become of great importance, especially after the appearance of the book Samuel Huntington, which portends a clash of civilizations, because the book The Discovery of Freedom promises – on the contrary, – the dialogue of civilizations. He has republished of this part of the book titled Islam and the Discovery of Freedom without alteration of the text, but with his marginal comments, explaining and correcting where necessary.

Dr. Imad graduated from Harvard University and holds a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Arizona and is now president of the Minaret of Freedom Institute for Islamic research in Washington. He also taught at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. His
first book was titled Signs in the Heavens (1992) which reviews Muslim scholarship in religion and science, and on the same subject he presented a paper at a conference in the Vatican in 1994 under the auspices of Vatican Foundation Astronomical Observatories, with interdisciplinary intellectual efforts in multiple areas of dialogue between Islam and Western civilization. Hence his interest in the republication of the section on Islam from the Book of Rose Lane, a book that deserves a lot of meditation and attention.


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