Adam LeBor

Drunk Again, Khayyam?

Omar Khayyam: Poet, Rebel, Astronomer


Sutton Books 365pp £20 order from our bookshop

The oil-fuelled rise of the Wahhabis, the austere, even puritanical (if such a word can be applied to Muslims) literalists from Saudi Arabia, has eclipsed far older Muslim traditions of independent scholarship, mysticism and even sensuality. From Pakistan to Morocco, young believers learn the Koran by heart, certain that they need enquire no further. Nowadays in Omar Khayyam’s native Iran, radical Shiite clerics run a tyrannical regime where teenagers are hanged from cranes in public for having sex.

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