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My Friend the Fanatic

Travels with a Radical Islamist

My Friend the Fanatic is a portrait of the world's most populous Muslim country, Indonesia, and the fourth most populous nation in the World. A nation once synonymous with tolerance that now finds itself in the midst of a profound shift toward radical Islam. The portrait is painted through the travels of a pair of unlikely protagonists. Sadanand Dhume, the author, is a foreign correspondent—a Princeton-educated Indian atheist with a fondness for literary fiction and an interest in economic development. His companion, Herry Nurdi, is a young Islamist who hero worships Osama bin Laden. Their travels span mosques and discotheques, prison cells and dormitories, sacred volcanoes and temple ruins.