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A Labyrinth of Kingdoms: 10,000 Miles through Islamic Africa by Steve Kemper

By Steve Kemper

A real tale that competitors the travels of Burton or Stanley for pleasure, and surpasses them in clinical achievements.

In 1849 Heinrich Barth joined a small British excursion into unexplored areas of Islamic North and crucial Africa. one after the other his partners died, yet he carried on by myself, finally achieving the fabled urban of gold, Timbuktu. His five-and-a-half-year, 10,000-mile experience ranks one of the maximum trips within the annals of exploration, and his discoveries are thought of fundamental through sleek students of Africa.

Yet due to transferring politics, ecu preconceptions approximately Africa, and his personal thorny character, Barth has been virtually forgotten. most people hasn't ever heard of him, his epic trip, or his still-pertinent observations approximately Africa and Islam; and his huge five-volume Travels and Discoveries in North and critical Africa is uncommon even in libraries. through supplying the 1st biography on Barth in English, Steve Kemper is going far to rescue this interesting determine from obscurity.

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He seems to have given half-a-dozen contradictory accounts of himself; but the general impression remains that he came from Turkey, and was by profession a dervish. He had not come with the Haj, but had been first noticed as a beggar at Mecca ten days before, when he had asked and received an alms of the Sherif, and had since been several times found obtrusively in El Husseyn's path. No one at Jeddah holds the Turkish Governor to have been cognisant of the crime. He was personally on good terms with El Husseyn, and has since been disgraced; but all point to the Stamboul Camarilla and even the Sultan himself as its author.

A true liberal party has thus been formed, which includes in its ranks not merely political intriguers of the type familiar to Europe in Midhat Pasha, but men of sincere piety, who would introduce moral as well as political reforms into the practice of Mohammedans. These have it in their programme to make the practice of religion more austere while widening its basis, to free the intelligence of believers from scholastic trammels, and at the same time to enforce more strictly the higher moral law of the Koran, which has been so long and so strangely violated.

Moreover, in the fifteenth century the Ottoman Turks, then an irresistible power, were invading Europe, and a new element of contact with an outside world was created, and a new fear. Christendom certainly at that time was in danger of political annihilation, or fancied itself to be so, and the apprehensions of devout persons in Central Europe were roused to a vivid consciousness of impending evil by the thought that this was perhaps another authorized scourge of God. I will not strain the parallel further than it will bear, but I would suggest that causes somewhat analogous to these are now at work among the Mussulmans of the still independent states of Islam, and that they are operating somewhat in the same direction.

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