3 MAY 1924, Page 26

ISLAM AT THE CROSS ROADS. By De Lacy O'Leary. (Kagan

Paul. 6s. 6d. net.) Dr. O'reary, a learned Orientalist who knows the Near East well, deals in this instructive book with the history of Moham- medanism, its numerous sects and its present position. He makes it clear that the Khalif is in no sense a Mohammedan Pope, as some Indian Nationalists and some of their English admirers have suggested. The Shies, of Persia and Mesopo- tamia, do not recognize any Khalif, nor do the Puritanical Wahhabis who are ruled by our ally Ibu Sa'ud of Nejd. Nor do the Turks themselves, as is now clear, regard the Sultan- Khalif with any veneration, for they felt able to depose him at will and afterwards expelled his successor and all his family from Turkey and abolished the Khalifate. Dr. O'Leary maintains that Islam is fearful of a renewal of the Crusades, attributing to the Western Powers definitely anti-Mohammedan sentiments. It has no special love for the Turk, but it thought that the virtual extinction of Turkey, the last independent Mohammedan Power, woukl lead to, a general attack on the religious liberties of the faithful. The idea is absurd, of course, but ideas are often potent indirect proportion to their folly. Now that the Turks are breaking with all their politico-religious traditions, Islam may be disillusioned. Dr. O'Leary writes dispassionately ; he holds, for example, that the promise of independence to Egypt was a grave error. But he believes that Islam is in a state of serious unrest, and that as it is rather a species of freemasonry, or a social order, than a religion in our sense of the word, it deserves close attention. Dr. O'Leary would have made a better book if he had corrected his proofs ; misprints or mistakes are sadly numerous.