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1 Burnside Middle East- General History

This title in other editions

The Al Qaeda Reader

by

The Al Qaeda Reader Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The global war on terror is not just a military conflict but a war of ideas. Indeed it is in some respects primarily an ideological struggle.  Yet it is a war we cannot win without a broader understanding of al-Qaeda's goals and motives.

What do our enemies believe?  What motivates their war against the West?  What is their vision of the ideal Islamic society?  Surprisingly, more than five years after 9/11, there is very little understanding of these questions. 

Despite our tendency to dismiss Islamic extremism as profoundly irrational, al-Qaeda is not without a coherent body of beliefs.  Like other totalitarian movements, the movements leaders have rationalized their brutality in a number of published treatises.  Now, for the first time, The Al Qaeda Reader gathers together the essential texts and documents that trace the origin, history, and evolution of the ideas of al-Qaeda founders Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. 

This extraordinary collection of the key texts of the al-Qaeda movementincluding incendiary materials never before translated into Englishlays bare the minds, motives, messages, and ultimate goals of an enemy bent on total victory. Al-Qaedas chilling ideology calls for a relentless jihad against non-Muslim "infidels," repudiates democracy in favor of Islamic law, stresses the importance of martyrdom, and mocks the notion of "moderate" Islam.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of these works is how grounded they are in the traditional sources of Islamic theology: the Koran and the teachings of the Prophet. The founders of al-Qaeda use these sources as powerful weapons of persuasion, reminding followers (and would-be recruits) that Muhammad and his warriors spread Islam through the power of the sword and that the Koran is not merely allegory or history but literal truth that commands all Muslims to action.

In addition to laying bare al-Qaedas ultimate motives, The Al Qaeda Reader includes the organizations propagandist speeches, which are directed primarily at Americans, Europeans, and Iraqis. Here, al-Qaedas many "official" accusations against the West are meticulously delineated, from standard complaints such as the Palestinian issue and Iraq to wholly unexpected ones concerning the U.S.s exploitation of women and the environment.

Taken together, the Theology and Propaganda sections of this volume reveal the most comprehensive picture of al-Qaeda to date. They also highlight the double-speak of bin Laden and Zawahiri, who often say one thing to Muslims in their religious treatises ("We must hate and fight the West because Islam commands it") and another in their propaganda directed at the West ("The West is the aggressor and we are fighting back merely in self-defense").

Westerners from across the political spectrum will be fascinated and enlightened by The Al Qaeda Readers insights into the nature of Islamic texts and the ways in which al-Qaeda has used these texts to manufacture hatred against our civilization and our way of life.

Review:

"For the strong silent type, Osama bin Laden has actually talked a lot. One expects this from his tediously didactic counselor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, but somehow not from the abstemious Emir himself. Yet in dozens of statements disseminated as letters, videos and audiotapes since at least 1994, bin Laden has expressed an evolving view of the world. This brew of rumination, analysis and exhortation has... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Book News Annotation:

Ibrahim (Near Eastern Section, African and Middle Eastern Division, Library of Congress) presents translations of al Qaeda texts in which Osama Bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, or their agents lay out the justifications for their actions and seek to gain converts to their cause. In the first section of the book he presents three treatises that he characterizes as theological in which the authors discuss relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, the superiority of sharia law to democracy, and the legitimacy of suicide bombings and the killing of innocents. The second section of the book contains al Qaeda messages directed at the world at large, which focus more on perceptions of injustice on the part of the United States and Israel. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Westerners from across the political spectrum will be fascinated and enlightened by this volume's insights into the nature of Islamic texts and the ways in which al Qaeda has used these texts to manufacture hatred against America's civilization and way of life.

Synopsis:

The global war on terror is not just a military conflict but a war of ideas. Indeed it is in some respects primarily an ideological struggle.  Yet it is a war we cannot win without a broader understanding of al-Qaeda's goals and motives.

What do our enemies believe?  What motivates their war against the West?  What is their vision of the ideal Islamic society?  Surprisingly, more than five years after 9/11, there is very little understanding of these questions. 

Despite our tendency to dismiss Islamic extremism as profoundly irrational, al-Qaeda is not without a coherent body of beliefs.  Like other totalitarian movements, the movement’s leaders have rationalized their brutality in a number of published treatises.  Now, for the first time, The Al Qaeda Reader gathers together the essential texts and documents that trace the origin, history, and evolution of the ideas of al-Qaeda founders Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. 

This extraordinary collection of the key texts of the al-Qaeda movement—including incendiary materials never before translated into English—lays bare the minds, motives, messages, and ultimate goals of an enemy bent on total victory. Al-Qaeda’s chilling ideology calls for a relentless jihad against non-Muslim “infidels,” repudiates democracy in favor of Islamic law, stresses the importance of martyrdom, and mocks the notion of “moderate” Islam.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of these works is how grounded they are in the traditional sources of Islamic theology: the Koran and the teachings of the Prophet. The founders of al-Qaeda use these sources as powerful weapons of persuasion, reminding followers (and would-be recruits) that Muhammad and his warriors spread Islam through the power of the sword and that the Koran is not merely allegory or history but literal truth that commands all Muslims to action.

Westerners from across the political spectrum will be fascinated and enlightened by The Al Qaeda Reader’s insights into the nature of Islamic texts and the ways in which al-Qaeda has used these texts to manufacture hatred against our civilization and our way of life.

About the Author

Raymond Ibrahim is a historian of the Middle East and Islam. He works for the Near East section of the African and Middle Eastern division of the Library of Congress, where he discovered many of the never-before-translated Arabic texts that make up the bulk of The Al-Qaeda Reader.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385516556
Author:
Ibrahim, Raymond
Publisher:
Doubleday
Introduction:
Hanson, Victor Davis
Author:
edited and translated by Raymond Ibrahim
Subject:
Terrorism
Subject:
Islam
Subject:
Islam - General
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Law Enforcement
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Terrorism
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20070807
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
8.54x5.80x1.01 in. 1.09 lbs.

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Middle East » General History
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Religion » Islam » General

The Al Qaeda Reader Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385516556 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Westerners from across the political spectrum will be fascinated and enlightened by this volume's insights into the nature of Islamic texts and the ways in which al Qaeda has used these texts to manufacture hatred against America's civilization and way of life.
"Synopsis" by , The global war on terror is not just a military conflict but a war of ideas. Indeed it is in some respects primarily an ideological struggle.  Yet it is a war we cannot win without a broader understanding of al-Qaeda's goals and motives.

What do our enemies believe?  What motivates their war against the West?  What is their vision of the ideal Islamic society?  Surprisingly, more than five years after 9/11, there is very little understanding of these questions. 

Despite our tendency to dismiss Islamic extremism as profoundly irrational, al-Qaeda is not without a coherent body of beliefs.  Like other totalitarian movements, the movement’s leaders have rationalized their brutality in a number of published treatises.  Now, for the first time, The Al Qaeda Reader gathers together the essential texts and documents that trace the origin, history, and evolution of the ideas of al-Qaeda founders Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden. 

This extraordinary collection of the key texts of the al-Qaeda movement—including incendiary materials never before translated into English—lays bare the minds, motives, messages, and ultimate goals of an enemy bent on total victory. Al-Qaeda’s chilling ideology calls for a relentless jihad against non-Muslim “infidels,” repudiates democracy in favor of Islamic law, stresses the importance of martyrdom, and mocks the notion of “moderate” Islam.

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of these works is how grounded they are in the traditional sources of Islamic theology: the Koran and the teachings of the Prophet. The founders of al-Qaeda use these sources as powerful weapons of persuasion, reminding followers (and would-be recruits) that Muhammad and his warriors spread Islam through the power of the sword and that the Koran is not merely allegory or history but literal truth that commands all Muslims to action.

Westerners from across the political spectrum will be fascinated and enlightened by The Al Qaeda Reader’s insights into the nature of Islamic texts and the ways in which al-Qaeda has used these texts to manufacture hatred against our civilization and our way of life.

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