I finished this book and gave it to another young friend of mine who is interested to learn more about the Middle East. Part of me wanted to hang on to it to mine it for quotes. The other said it was better to let someone else have a read.
There were a few additional thoughts that jumped out at me. The first was about how the Muslims who fled what is now India to go to Pakistan at the time of the partition have still not been assimilated to their new homeland, even though most of them were born there. This reminds me of the Palestinian problem where the refugees in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan haven't been assimilated either. On the other hand, the non-Muslim Indians who fled Pakistan have been all assimilated, thus, the argument is that this is really a problem stemming from tribalist tendencies of Islam. Then there is Israel itself, which has assimilated Jews from all over the world.
Another idea is the notion that Islam must be absolutely dominant for its full virtuous effects to be felt. This was stated by a number of ideologues. Thus, even as Muslim countries spin economically out of control, there is the never ending hope that all this could be rectified if only a purer religion could be enforced. This stands in contrast to my view that it is impossible for Christians to be absolutely dominant. The reason is that as Christianity obtains more power, the top religious posts become far too attractive to closet atheists and the like, thus, precluding Christians from ever being dominant. Unless God should choose to step in and do something different. Anyway, the only absolute authority Christians expect is that absolute authority of the anti-Christ. Then the end times will follow, but that will be God's doing, not ours.
The story of Iran was one where petty rules and lax enforcement resulted in a complete mockery of Islamic law.
A final point was the observation that in the countries Aatish visited, protests and riots were something spontaneous. Instead, it was a combination of governmental planning and Imams stoking up the faithful.