Innocence Lost examines how the matter of a number of cartoon drawings came to figure prominently on the international agenda. It came as a shock to most Westerners that the publication by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of the satirical drawings of the Prophet Muhammad resulted in mass demonstrations and attacks on Danish embassies in the Middle East and South Asia.
The book provides a description of the situation in the Middle East, including the background of the critical state of affairs in Iraq, which is best described as a state of civil war.
With this as its point of departure, the book discusses the relationship between democratization and Islamism, concluding that the present democratic process in the Middle East is apparently serving to strengthen the Islamists. Furthermore, it analyzes the development of al-Qaida from being an organization to becoming a global ideology enjoying widespread support and appealing to small local groups such as that behind the July 2005 London bombings.
Innocence Lost also analyzes the war on terror as part of the global battle over values between a liberal and an Islamist interpretation of the concept of world order. The author poses the question of whether the world is heading towards a global civil war reminiscent of the protracted wars of religion of the late Middle Ages.
Lars Erslev Andersen is associate professor in Middle East Studies and Modern History focusing on Middle East in International Relations and U.S. Security Policy theories. He is affiliated at the Institute of History, University of Southern Denmark.