In November 2004, the controversial Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was killed on a busy street in Amsterdam. A twenty-six-year-old Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent shot van Gogh, slit his throat, and pinned a five-page indictment of Western society to his body. The murder set off a series of reactions, including arson against Muslim schools and mosques. In The Assassination of Theo van Gogh, Ron Eyerman explores the multiple meanings of the murder and the different reactions it elicited: among the Amsterdam-based artistic and intellectual subculture, the wider Dutch public, the local and international Muslim communities, the radical Islamic movement, and the broader international community. After meticulously analyzing the actions and reputations of van Gogh and others in his milieu, the motives of the murderer, and the details of the assassination itself, Eyerman considers the various narrative frames the mass media used to characterize the killing.
Eyerman utilizes theories of social drama and cultural trauma to evaluate the reactions to and effects of the murder. A social drama is triggered by a public transgression of taken-for-granted norms; one that threatens the collective identity of a society may develop into a cultural trauma. Eyerman contends that the assassination of Theo van Gogh quickly became a cultural trauma because it resonated powerfully with the postwar psyche of the Netherlands. As part of his analysis of the murder and reactions to it, he discusses significant aspects of twentieth-century Dutch history, including the country’s treatment of Jews during the German occupation, the loss of its colonies in the wake of World War II, its recruitment of immigrant workers, and the failure of Dutch troops to protect Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995.
Stephane Lacroix Harvard University Press, 2011 Library of Congress DS244.63.L345 2011 | Dewey Decimal 320.55709538
With unprecedented access to a closed culture, Lacroix offers an account of Islamism in Saudi Arabia. Tracing the last half-century of the Sahwa, or “Islamic Awakening,” he explains the brand of Islam that gave birth to Osama bin Laden—one that has been exported, and dangerously misunderstood, around the world.
Islamist thinkers used to debate the doctrine of the caliphate of man, which holds that God is sovereign but has appointed the multitude of believers as His vicegerent. Andrew March argues that the doctrine underpins a democratic vision of popular rule over governments and clerics. But is this an ideal regime destined to survive only in theory?
Islam’s Intellectual Suicide—and the Threat to Us All
People are shocked and frightened by the behavior coming out the Islamic world—not only because it is violent, but also because it is seemingly inexplicable. While there are many answers to the question of “what went wrong” in the Muslim world, no one has decisively answered why it went wrong. Until now.
In this eye-opening new book, foreign policy expert Robert R. Reilly uncovers the root of our contemporary crisis: a pivotal struggle waged within the Muslim world nearly a millennium ago. In a heated battle over the role of reason, the side of irrationality won. The deformed theology that resulted, Reilly reveals, produced the spiritual pathology of Islamism, and a deeply dysfunctional culture.
Terrorism—from 9/11, to London, Madrid, and Mumbai, to the Christmas 2009 attempted airline bombing—is the most obvious manifestation of this crisis. But Reilly shows that the pathology extends much further. The Closing of the Muslim Mindsolves such puzzles as:
· why peace is so elusive in the Middle East
· why the Arab world stands near the bottom of every measure of human development
· why scientific inquiry is nearly dead in the Islamic world
· why Spain translates more books in a single year than the entire Arab world has in the past thousand years
· why some people in Saudi Arabia still refuse to believe man has been to the moon
· why Muslim media frequently present natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina as God’s direct retribution
Delving deeper than previous polemics and simplistic analyses, The Closing of the Muslim Mindprovides the answers the West has so desperately needed in confronting the Islamist crisis.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
"The lack of liberty within Islam is a huge problem. Robert Reilly’s The Closing of the Muslim Mind shows that a millennium ago Muslims debated whether minds should be free to explore the world—and freedom lost. The intellectual history he offers helps to explain why Muslim countries fell behind Christian-based ones in scientific inquiry, economic development, and technology. Reilly provides astonishing statistics . . . [and] also points out how theology prefigures politics." —World Magazine
"As Robert R. Reilly points out in The Closing of the Muslim Mind . . . the Islamic conception of God as pure will, unbound by reason and unknowable through the visible world, rendered any search for cause and effect in nature irrelevant to Muslim societies over centuries, resulting in slipshod, dependent cultures. Reilly notes, for example, that Pakistan, a nation which views science as automatically impious given its view that an arbitrary God did not imprint upon nature a rational order worth investigating, produces almost no patents." —American Spectator
"What happened to moderate Islam and what sort of hope we may have for it in the future is the subject of Robert Reilly’s brilliant and groundbreaking new book. The Closing of the Muslim Mind is a page-turner that reads almost like an intellectual detective novel...One thing Reilly’s account makes clear: Only when we move beyond the common platitudes of our contemporary political discussion and begin to deal with Islam as it really is — rather than the fiction that it is the equivalent of our Western culture dressed up in a burqa — will we be able to help make progress in that direction." —National Review Online
This report analyzes the U.S. and allied campaign against the al Qa’ida–linked terrorist group al Shabaab in Somalia, examines what steps have been most successful against the group, and identifies potential recommendations. It concludes that, while al Shaba'ab was weakened between 2011 and 2016, the group could resurge if urgent steps are not taken to address the political, economic, and governance challenges at the heart of the conflict.
In 2015, the Islamic State released a video of men smashing sculptures in Iraq’s Mosul Museum as part of a mission to cleanse the world of idolatry. This book unpacks three key facets of that event: the status and power of images, the political importance of museums, and the efficacy of videos in furthering an ideological agenda through the internet.
Beginning with the Islamic State’s claim that the smashed objects were idols of the “age of ignorance,” Aaron Tugendhaft questions whether there can be any political life without idolatry. He then explores the various roles Mesopotamian sculpture has played in European imperial competition, the development of artistic modernism, and the formation of Iraqi national identity, showing how this history reverberates in the choice of the Mosul Museum as performance stage. Finally, he compares the Islamic State’s production of images to the ways in which images circulated in ancient Assyria and asks how digitization has transformed politics in the age of social media. An elegant and accessibly written introduction to the complexities of such events, The Idols of ISIS is ideal for students and readers seeking a richer cultural perspective than the media usually provides.
A Muslim scholar with extensive experience in Africa, T. Abdou Maliqalim Simone was recruited by the Islamic fundamentalist Shari‘a Movement in Sudan to act as consultant for its project to unite Muslims and non-Muslims in Khartoum's shanty towns. Based on his interviews with hundreds of individuals during this time, plus extensive historical and archival research, In Whose Image? is a penetrating examination of the use of Islam as a tool for political transformation.
Drawing a detailed portrait of political fundamentalism during the 1985-89 period of democratic rule in the Sudan, Simone shows how the Shari‘a Movement attempted to shape a viable social order by linking religious integrity and economic development, where religious practice was to dominate all aspects of society and individuals' daily lives. However, because Sudanese society is remarkably diverse ethnically and religiously, this often led to conflict, fragmentation, and violence in the name of Islam.
Simone's own Islamic background leads him to deplore the violence and the devastating psychological, economic, and cultural consequences of one form of Islamic radicalism, while holding to hope that a viable form of this inherently political religion can in fact be applied. As a counterpoint, he ends with a discussion of South Africa's Call of Islam, which seeks political unity through a more tolerant interpretation of Islam.
As an introduction to religious discourse in Africa, this book will be widely read by students and scholars throughout African Studies, Religious Studies, Anthropology, and Political Science.
The Islamic world has experienced extensive social changes in modern times—the rise of new social classes, the formation of massive bureaucratic and military states, and the incorporation of its economies into the world capitalist structure. Yet despite these changes, a national consensus on even the most important principles of social organization—the form of government, the status of women, national identity, and rule making—has yet to emerge.
An ambitious comparative historical analysis of ideological production in the Islamic world from the mid-1800s to the present, Mansoor Moaddel's Islamic Modernism, Nationalism, and Fundamentalism provides a unique perspective for understanding the social conditions of these discourses. Moaddel characterizes these movements in terms of a sequence of cultural episodes characterized by ideological debates and religious disputations, each ending with a revolution or military coup. Understanding how the leaders of these movements formulated their discourses is, for Moaddel, the key to understanding Middle Eastern history. This premise allows him to unlock for readers the historical process that started with Islamic modernism and ended with fundamentalism.
Islamic Radicalism and Global Jihad
Devin R. Springer, James L. Regens, and David N. Edger Georgetown University Press, 2009 Library of Congress BP182.S67 2009 | Dewey Decimal 363.325
Jihadist ideology inspires a diverse and decentralized collection of radical groups to fight alleged enemies of Islam and to attempt to “restore” a holy caliphate to unite Muslim peoples across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Islamic Radicalism and Global Jihad provides unique insights into the philosophical foundations, strategic vision, organizational dynamics, and tactics of the modern jihadist movement—with specific attention to its primary driver, Al-Qa’ida.
Springer, Regens, and Edger draw heavily on Arabic language sources seldom seen in the West to explain what jihadists want and how radical thinkers have distorted the teachings of Islam to convince followers to pursue terrorism as a religious duty. With sophisticated and systematic analysis, the authors lead their readers on a fascinating intellectual journey through the differing ideas, goals, and vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement as it has evolved over time. The authors also impart wisdom from their own professional experience with terrorism, counterinsurgency, and intelligence to provide scholars, students, counterterrorism professionals, and general readers with this accessible overview of key radical Islamic thinkers and today’s jihadists.
2012 Outstanding Co-Authored Book of the Year by the 2013 Distinguished Scholarship Awards Committee for the International and Intercultural Communication Division (IICD) of the National Communication Association (NCA)
Islamic extremism is the dominant security concern of many contemporary governments, spanning the industrialized West to the developing world. Narrative Landmines explores how rumors fit into and extend narrative systems and ideologies, particularly in the context of terrorism, counter-terrorism, and extremist insurgencies. Its concern is to foster a more sophisticated understanding of how oral and digital cultures work alongside economic, diplomatic, and cultural factors that influence the struggles between states and non-state actors in the proverbial battle of hearts and minds. Beyond face-to-face communication, the authors also address the role of new and social media in the creation and spread of rumors.
As narrative forms, rumors are suitable to a wide range of political expression, from citizens, insurgents, and governments alike, and in places as distinct as Singapore, Iraq, and Indonesia—the case studies presented for analysis. The authors make a compelling argument for understanding rumors in these contexts as “narrative IEDs,” low-cost, low-tech weapons that can successfully counter such elaborate and expansive government initiatives as outreach campaigns or strategic communication efforts. While not exactly the same as the advanced technological systems or Improvised Explosive Devices to which they are metaphorically related, narrative IEDs nevertheless operate as weapons that can aid the extremist cause.
Pakistan, which since 9/11 has come to be seen as one of the world’s most dangerous places and has been referred to as “the epicenter of international terrorism,” faces an acute counterterrorism (CT) challenge. The book focuses on violence being perpetrated against the Pakistani state by Islamist groups and how Pakistan can address these challenges, concentrating not only on military aspects but on the often-ignored political, legal, law enforcement, financial, and technological facets of the challenge.
Edited by Moeed Yusuf of the US Institute of Peace, and featuring the contributions and insights of Pakistani policy practitioners and scholars as well as international specialists with deep expertise in the region, the volume explores the current debate surrounding Pakistan’s ability—and incentives—to crack down on Islamist terrorism and provides an in-depth examination of the multiple facets of this existential threat confronting the Pakistani state and people.
The book pays special attention to the non-traditional functions of force that are central to Pakistan’s ability to subdue militancy but which have not received the deserved attention from the Pakistani state nor from western experts. In particular, this path-breaking volume, the first to explore these various facets holistically, focuses on the weakness of political institutions, the role of policing, criminal justice systems, choking financing for militancy, and regulating the use of media and technology by militants. Military force alone, also examined in this volume, will not solve Pakistan’s Islamist challenge. With original insights and attention to detail, the authors provide a roadmap for Western and Pakistani policymakers alike to address the weaknesses in Pakistan’s CT strategy.
This report examines the status and evolution of al Qa’ida and other Salafi-jihadist groups, and uses qualitative and quantitative data to assess whether this movement has strengthened. The author uses this analysis to examine U.S. strategic options to counter al Qa’ida and other terrorist groups based on the threat level and the capacity of local governments.
Salafism, comprised of fundamentalist Islamic movements whose adherents consider themselves the only “saved” sect of Islam, has been little studied, remains shrouded in misconceptions, and has provoked new interest as Salafists have recently staked a claim to power in some Arab states while spearheading battles against “infidel” Arab regimes during recent rebellions in the Arab world. Robert G. Rabil examines the emergence and development of Salafism into a prominent religious movement in Lebanon, including the ideological and sociopolitical foundation that led to the three different schools of Salafism in Lebanon: quietist Salafists, Haraki (active) Salafists; and Salafi Jihadists.
Emphasizing their manhaj (methodology) toward politics, the author surveys Salafists’ ideological transformation from opponents to supporters of political engagement. Their antagonism to Hezbollah, which they denounce as the party of Satan, has risen exponentially following the party’s seizure of Beirut in 2008 and support of the tyrannical Syrian regime. Salafism in Lebanon also demonstrates how activists and jihadi Salafists, in response to the political weakness of Sunni leadership, have threatened regional and international security by endorsing violence and jihad.
Drawing on field research trips, personal interviews, and Arabic primary sources, the book explores the relationship between the ideologies of the various schools of Salafism and their praxis in relation to Lebanese politics. The book should interest students and scholars of Islamic movements, international affairs, politics and religion, and radical groups and terrorism.
In 2006, Zacarias Moussaoui became the first person to stand trial for the events of September 11, 2001. This timely book provides a close insight into the Moussaoui trial from an anthropological perspective. Katherine C. Donahue was present at the trial. Based on first-hand evidence, this book provides a unique picture of an al Quaeda convert in the process of forming his identity just when he is calling the death sentence upon himself. It is the story of an extra-national opposition to western democracy, seen through the experience of a man who calls himself a "slave of Allah."
The book begins with his arrest and moves to the courtroom, telling the tale of Moussaoui's struggle with his defense lawyers and raising questions about his ability to be "represented" given his national and personal identity. Donahue explores his background in France as the son of Moroccan immigrants and follows him to London, Afghanistan, and Malaysia as he joins the growing fraternity of an Islam without borders. He acquires an extra-national identity in which his loyalty is no longer constituted by his national identity, but by his allegiance to fundamental Islam.
The first major qualitative study of “countering violent extremism” in key U.S. cities
Suspect Communities is a powerful reassessment of the U.S. government’s “countering violent extremism” (CVE) program that has arisen in major cities across the United States since 2011. Drawing on an interpretive qualitative study, it examines how the concept behind CVEaimed at combating homegrown terrorism by engaging Muslim community members, teachers, and religious leaders in monitoring and reporting on young peoplehas been operationalized through the everyday work of CVE actors, from high-level national security workers to local community members, with significant penalties for the communities themselves.
Nicole Nguyen argues that studying CVE provides insight into how the drive to bring liberal reforms to contemporary security regimes through “community-driven” and “ideologically ecumenical” programming has in fact further institutionalized anti-Muslim racism in the United States. She forcefully contends that the U.S. security state has designed CVE to legitimize and shore up support for the very institutions that historically have criminalized, demonized, and dehumanized communities of color, while appearing to learn from and attenuate past practices of coercive policing, racial profiling, and political exclusion.
By undertaking this analysis, Suspect Communities offers a vital window into the inner workings of the U.S. security state and the devastating impact of CVE on local communities.
What is driving political extremism in Pakistan? In early 2011, the prominent Pakistani politician Salmaan Taseer was assassinated by a member of his own security team for insulting Islam by expressing views in support of the rights of women and religious minorities. Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister, was killed by gunfire and explosive devices as she left a campaign event in December 2007; strong evidence links members of extremist organizations to her slaying.
These murders underscore the fact that religion, politics, and policy are inextricably linked in Pakistan. In this book, Haroon K. Ullah analyzes the origins, ideologies, bases of support, and electoral successes of the largest and most influential Islamic parties in Pakistan. Based on his extensive field work in Pakistan, he develops a new typology for understanding and comparing the discourses put forth by these parties in order to assess what drives them and what separates the moderate from the extreme. A better understanding of the range of parties is critical for knowing how the US and other Western nations can engage states where Islamic political parties hold both political and moral authority.
Pakistan’s current democratic transition will hinge on how well Islamic parties contribute to civilian rule, shun violence, and mobilize support for political reform. Ullah’s political-party typology may also shed light on the politics of other majority-Muslim democracies, such as Egypt and Tunisia, where Islamist political parties have recently won elections.
In this original and provocative book, Nahed Artoul Zehr explores the theological underpinnings of al-Qaeda and related Islamic movements such as ISIS. She demonstrates how this marginal narrative transformed al-Qaeda from a relatively hierarchical and regional organization to a globalized, decentralized, and diffuse system of networks. She draws connections between religious ideas and strategy in her translation and analysis of leading theoretical and tactical jihad text, The Global Islamic Resistance Call, by Mustafa abu Mus’ ab al-Suri.
Just as importantly, she questions al-Qaeda’s understanding of the Islamic tradition on the use of force, arguing that it reflects a weak understanding of this tradition. More specifically, it is al-Qaeda’s (and related groups’) break with this tradition that is key to an al-Qaeda defeat.
Simultaneously, Zehr critiques the US military and policy establishment as it attempts to offer counter-narratives to the al-Qaeda phenomenon that emphasizes “good Muslims” versus “bad Muslims” in order to embrace a “moderate” form of Islam. According to Zehr, this approach is misguided: it is beyond the US government’s purview and expertise to make such theological claims about Islam. Better, she argues, to note the counter-narratives that are coming from within the Muslim community and other nongovernment institutions interested in moving this work forward.
By refocusing our attention on al-Qaeda’s narrative and the various ways thatit is being contested, the book provides an alternate lens from which to viewal-Qaeda and the al-Qaeda phenomenon for Islamic and US foreign policy scholars and students.