On Suicide Bombing

Author: Talal Asad
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231141529
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Like many people in America and around the world, Talal Asad experienced the events of September 11, 2001, largely through the media and the emotional response of others. For many non-Muslims, "the suicide bomber" quickly became the icon of "an Islamic culture of death"--a conceptual leap that struck Asad as problematic. Is there a "religiously-motivated terrorism?" If so, how does it differ from other cruelties? What makes its motivation "religious"? Where does it stand in relation to other forms of collective violence? Drawing on his extensive scholarship in the study of secular and religious traditions as well as his understanding of social, political, and anthropological theory and research, Asad questions Western assumptions regarding death and killing. He scrutinizes the idea of a "clash of civilizations," the claim that "Islamic jihadism" is the essence of modern terror, and the arguments put forward by liberals to justify war in our time. He critically engages with a range of explanations of suicide terrorism, exploring many writers' preoccupation with the motives of perpetrators. In conclusion, Asad examines our emotional response to suicide (including suicide terrorism) and the horror it invokes. On Suicide Bombing is an original and provocative analysis critiquing the work of intellectuals from both the left and the right. Though fighting evil is an old concept, it has found new and disturbing expressions in our contemporary "war on terror." For Asad, it is critical that we remain aware of the forces shaping the discourse surrounding this mode of violence, and by questioning our assumptions about morally good and morally evil ways of killing, he illuminates the fragile contradictions that are a part of our modern subjectivity.

Good Muslim Bad Muslim

Author: Mahmood Mamdani
Publisher: Harmony
ISBN: 9780385515917
Size: 72.21 MB
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In this brilliant look at the rise of political Islam, the distinguished political scientist and anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani brings his expertise and insight to bear on a question many Americans have been asking since 9/11: how did this happen? Mamdani dispels the idea of “good” (secular, westernized) and “bad” (premodern, fanatical) Muslims, pointing out that these judgments refer to political rather than cultural or religious identities. The presumption that there are “good” Muslims readily available to be split off from “bad” Muslims masks a failure to make a political analysis of our times. This book argues that political Islam emerged as the result of a modern encounter with Western power, and that the terrorist movement at the center of Islamist politics is an even more recent phenomenon, one that followed America’s embrace of proxy war after its defeat in Vietnam. Mamdani writes with great insight about the Reagan years, showing America’s embrace of the highly ideological politics of “good” against “evil.” Identifying militant nationalist governments as Soviet proxies in countries such as Nicaragua and Afghanistan, the Reagan administration readily backed terrorist movements, hailing them as the “moral equivalents” of America’s Founding Fathers. The era of proxy wars has come to an end with the invasion of Iraq. And there, as in Vietnam, America will need to recognize that it is not fighting terrorism but nationalism, a battle that cannot be won by occupation. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim is a provocative and important book that will profoundly change our understanding both of Islamist politics and the way America is perceived in the world today. From the Hardcover edition.

Initiative To Stop The Violence

Author: Al-Gama'Ah Al-Islamiyah
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300196776
Size: 35.39 MB
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Formerly one of the largest and most militant Islamic organizations in the Middle East, Egypt's al-Gama'ah al-Islamiyah is believed to have played an instrumental role in numerous acts of global terrorism, including the assassination of President Anwar Sadat and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. In later years, however, the organization issued a surprising renunciation of violence, repudiating its former ideology and replacing it with a shari'ah-based understanding and assessment of the purpose and proper application of jihad. This key manifesto of modern Islamist thought is now available to an English-speaking audience in an eminently readable translation by noted Islamic scholar Sherman A. Jackson. Unlike other Western and Muslim critiques of violent extremism, this important work emerges from within the movement of Middle Eastern Islamic activism, both challenging and enriching prevailing notions about the role of Islamists in fighting the scourge of extremist politics, blind anti-Westernism, and, alas, wayward jihad.

Mortal Rituals

Author: Matt Rossano
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231165005
Size: 13.99 MB
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On December 21, 1972, sixteen young survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 were rescued after spending ten weeks stranded at the crash site of their plane, high in the remote Andes Mountains. The incident made international headlines and spawned several best-selling books, fueled partly by the fact that the young men had resorted to cannibalism to survive. Matt Rossano examines this story from an evolutionary perspective, weaving together findings and ideas from anthropology, psychology, religion, and cognitive science. During their ordeal, these young men broke "civilized" taboos to fend off starvation and abandoned "civilized" modes of thinking to maintain social unity and individual sanity. Through the power of ritual, the survivors were able to endure severe emotional and physical hardship. Rossano ties their story to our story, seeing in the mortal rituals of this struggle for survival a reflection of what it means to be human.

Violence

Author: Richard J. Bernstein
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 0745678793
Size: 50.58 MB
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We live in a time when we are overwhelmed with talk and images of violence. Whether on television, the internet, films or the video screen, we can’t escape representations of actual or fictional violence - another murder, another killing spree in a high school or movie theatre, another action movie filled with images of violence. Our age could well be called “The Age of Violence” because representations of real or imagined violence, sometimes fused together, are pervasive. But what do we mean by violence? What can violence achieve? Are there limits to violence and, if so, what are they? In this new book Richard Bernstein seeks to answer these questions by examining the work of five figures who have thought deeply about violence - Carl Schmitt, Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, Frantz Fanon, and Jan Assmann. He shows that we have much to learn from their work about the meaning of violence in our times. Through the critical examination of their writings he also brings out the limits of violence. There are compelling reasons to commit ourselves to non-violence, and yet at the same time we have to acknowledge that there are exceptional circumstances in which violence can be justified. Bernstein argues that there can be no general criteria for determining when violence is justified. The only plausible way of dealing with this issue is to cultivate publics in which there is free and open discussion and in which individuals are committed to listen to one other: when public debate withers, there is nothing to prevent the triumph of murderous violence.

Genealogies Of Religion

Author: Talal Asad
Publisher: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801895936
Size: 39.22 MB
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In Geneologies of Religion, Talal Asad explores how religion as a historical category emerged in the West and has come to be applied as a universal concept. The idea that religion has undergone a radical change since the Christian Reformation—from totalitarian and socially repressive to private and relatively benign—is a familiar part of the story of secularization. It is often invokved to explain and justify the liberal politics and world view of modernity. And it leads to the view that "politicized religions" threaten both reason and liberty. Asad's essays explore and question all these assumptions. He argues that "religion" is a construction of European modernity, a construction that authorizes—for Westerners and non-Westerners alike—particular forms of "history making." -- James R. Wood

Landscapes Of The Jihad

Author: Faisal Devji
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801444371
Size: 34.12 MB
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Landscapes of the Jihad explores the features that Al Qaeda and other strands of militant Islam share in common with global movements such as environmentalists and anti-globalisation protesters. These include a decentralised organisation and an emphasis on ethical rather than properly political action. Devji brings these and other characteristics of Al Qaeda together in an analysis of the jihad that locates it squarely within the transformation of political thought after the Cold War. The jihad emerges from the breakdown of traditional as well as modern forms of authority in the Muslim world. It is neither dogmatic in an old fashioned way nor ideological in the modern sense, and concerned neither with correct doctrinal practice in the present nor with some revolutionary utopia of the future. Instead it is fragmented, dispersed and highly individualistic.

The Media And Terrorism

Author: Duncan Mainye Omanga
Publisher: LIT Verlag Münster
ISBN: 3643907109
Size: 31.45 MB
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The editorial cartoon, perhaps one the most enduring features of the African newspaper, carries perception of a less cerebral form of journalism consigned to laughter and flippancy. However, editorial cartoons' effectiveness goes beyond laughter. This book not only responds to the call for a broader debate on media and terrorism, but also examines how editorial cartoons in Kenya, between 1998 and 2008, contributed to the discursive construction of terrorism and the so-called war on terror. Drawing from events surrounding major terror attacks at the high noon of 'al-Qaida terrorism', this book highlights how editorial cartoons in Kenya provided insights into the vicissitudes that characterized terrorism and its war. Dissertation. (Series: Contributions to African Research / Beitrage zur Afrikaforschung, Vol. 67) [Subject: Politics, Media Studies, African Studies]

Understanding Fundamentalism

Author: Richard T. Antoun
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9780742562097
Size: 63.36 MB
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The second edition of Understanding Fundamentalism provides a compelling and up to date picture of religious reactions against the modern secular world. Comparing Christian, Islamic, and Jewish fundamentalist movements, anthropologist Richard Antoun shows how all three share common characteristics. The new edition addresses fundamentalism in the post-9/11 world, transnational religion, and the impact of religious migration on Afghanistan and Western Europe.

Human Rights And Gender Violence

Author: Sally Engle Merry
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226520759
Size: 32.74 MB
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Human rights law and the legal protection of women from violence are still fairly new concepts. As a result, substantial discrepancies exist between what is decided in the halls of the United Nations and what women experience on a daily basis in their communities. Human Rights and Gender Violence is an ambitious study that investigates the tensions between global law and local justice. As an observer of UN diplomatic negotiations as well as the workings of grassroots feminist organizations in several countries, Sally Engle Merry offers an insider's perspective on how human rights law holds authorities accountable for the protection of citizens even while reinforcing and expanding state power. Providing legal and anthropological perspectives, Merry contends that human rights law must be framed in local terms to be accepted and effective in altering existing social hierarchies. Gender violence in particular, she argues, is rooted in deep cultural and religious beliefs, so change is often vehemently resisted by the communities perpetrating the acts of aggression. A much-needed exploration of how local cultures appropriate and enact international human rights law, this book will be of enormous value to students of gender studies and anthropology alike.