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Lehigh Carbon Community College

By Jordan Beach 

Dr. Tim Furnish found a window of opportunity to research and publish his most recent book related to Islamic world issues and terrorism, touching on a subject he felt lacked attention.

Furnish, adjunct history professor, has spent much of his studies focusing on terrorism-related topics. His most recent publication, “The COIN of the Islamic Realm: Insurgencies & The Ottoman Empire, 1416-1916,” fills what he perceived to be a gap in scholarship and the counterinsurgency realm.

“The modern war on terrorism is for the most part a struggle against Islamic insurgencies – 77% of the world’s transnational terrorist groups claim Islam as their motivation today. The military, intelligence and foreign policy communities tend to look only at Western historical examples of fighting such uprisings. But as a historian of the Islamic world who has studied the Ottomans, I knew that they also faced off against such movements, over their many centuries of rule in the Middle East and Africa,” said Furnish.

Knowing that Ottoman Empire historians have little knowledge on guerrilla and counter-guerrilla warfare, Furnish decided to bridge the gaps in the field. The book discusses how the Ottoman Empire fought off internal rebellions, of which Furnish says were mostly Muslim groups who believed the brand of Islam to be oppressive or lacking in dimension.

With his expertise and training, Furnish feels compelled to use his skillset to inform others on Middle Eastern and Islamic matters. Through his extensive research, he found a lack of understanding on these topics.

“My biggest takeaway is just how little, and how poorly, most understand the Islamic world and Islam itself. So, in that regard, I feel like I have a duty to rectify that knowledge and understanding the gap.”

Furnish has now written four books on Islamic world issues and one book on Tolkien’s Middle-earth. His first publication came from his doctoral dissertation on Islamic eschatology. His book on Middle-earth is a prequel to “Bright Swords and Glorious Warriors: A Military History of Middle-earth,” which he hopes to finish writing by next summer.

“I write about things I’m interested in: the Middle East, and Middle-earth,” said Furnish. “As a certain wise man once said, ‘the only thing worse than writing is – not writing.’”

While Furnish completes his next Tolkien-inspired book, he has plans to write a fiction book on a charismatic Middle Eastern leader claiming to be the Mahdi, the Muslim messiah figure.

Furnish’s publications can be found on Amazon, including his most recent book.