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Inside Jihadism: Understanding Jihadi Movements Worldwide (Yale Cultural Sociology)by Farhad Khosrokhavar
Synopses & Reviews
Jihad is the most organized force against Western capitalism since the Soviet era. Yet jihadism is multifaceted and complex, much broader than Al-Quaeda alone. In the first wide-ranging introduction to today's rapidly growing jihadism, Khosrokhavar explains how two key movements variously influence jihadi activists. One, based in the Middle East, is more heavily influenced by Islamic religion and political thought. The other, composed of individuals growing up or living mostly in Europe and Western democracies including the United States, is motivated by secular as well as religious influences. Khosrokhavar interprets religious and lesser-known Arabic texts and the real world economic and political dynamics that make jihadism a growing threat to Western democracies. Interviews with imprisoned jihadists on what motivated their plots and actions help the readers understand reality as seen by jihadists. The author concludes with recommendations to safeguard democracies from future jihadism.
Book News Annotation:
Khosrokhavar (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France) attempts an anatomy of Islamic Jihadism. He explores its diversity, religious foundations, intellectual basis, and social roots and also discusses the impact of state policies and economics, both domestically within the Islamic world and the external roles of the United States and other Western powers. He argues that Jihadism is caused by, in combination, reaction to Western imperialism, a recurring phenomenon within Islam in which movements arise seeking to restore its primal purity, the failure of communist and leftist radicalization in the Muslim world, and hostility to the state of Israel, which is perceived as an offshoot of Western imperialism. His central argument, however, is that Jihadism is a product of "perverse modernization," wherein traditional communities are dissolved through state action and the market economy, but without "the promotion of individual freedoms, the individual capacity to assure social and economic upward mobility by positive involvement in society, the opening up of the political system, and the creation of a new role for government as the defender of social liberty rather than the instigator of blind repression." Annotation Â©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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