New U.S. Ground Commander in Iraq Asks Senior Officers to Read "Islam for Dummies"

January 26, 2005

Source: Arab News

On January 26, 2005 Arab News reported, "Although the US military has been told to 'win the hearts and minds' of Iraqi civilians, it is difficult if the military is ignorant of the culture, religion, traditions and history of the region. Although some commanding officers require their officers to read material on Arab culture and Islam before being deployed or redeployed, the US military has yet to require all US military personnel be briefed on the subject before being sent to Iraq. Next month, Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines will take over as the United States’ new ground commander in Iraq. Before deploying, Vines has asked his senior officers to read eight books about Islam before their tour begins, and Professor Malcolm Clark’s 'Islam for Dummies' (Wiley, 2003) is first on the list. Professor Clark taught world religion for 36 years before retiring from Indiana’s Butler University in 2002; his classes about dealing with Islam were so successful that a former student recommended him to the editors of the 'Dummies' book series."