Ahmad Ghorab draws upon his own experience as a graduate of Oxford University and a professor in several European and Arab universities to formulate a devastating critique of Islamic Studies as currently practiced in many modern universities. Originally written in Arabic in the early 1990s, and updated for the English translation in 1995,his book Subverting Islam looked at how the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies was shaping the content and method of Islamic Studies to suit the needs of government officials and Christian missionaries.
Because he exposed the complicity of the Saudi government in this process, Ghorab was terminated from his position in a Saudi unversity and expelled from the country.
This work is essentially about contesting epistemologies - what is knowledge and how do we know what we know? While modern academia claims to be a place of free and open inquiry, it has consistently limited, either wittingly or unwittingly, those perspectives that do not accord with the post-Enlightenment dictates of rational inquiry and the current political order that benefits from that inquiry. Religion and the traditions of indigenous peoples cannot act subjectively in such systems, they cannot speak on their own terms; they can only speak in ways developed by a very narrow and recent segment of humanity, those ways of the modern Western civilisation.
In the current climate of Western uncertainity and colonial retrenchment, what remains to be done is to nurture other ways of seeing the world and to build communities and institutions that serve the diverse interests and needs of the multitude, whether they be Muslims, indigenous peoples, or ordinary working people.