Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror
The author does not attempt to explain away either political ethnicity or political Islam as the result of a Cold War American conspiracy, and sees ... Show synopsis The author does not attempt to explain away either political ethnicity or political Islam as the result of a Cold War American conspiracy, and sees political Islam, like the thinking that champions 'tribalism', as more a domestic product than a foreign import. But neither was bred in isolation; both were produced in the encounter with Western power. Political Islam was born in the colonial period, but it did not give rise to a terrorist movement until the Cold War. The particular circumstances which made it possible for terrorism to be transformed from an ideological tendency into a political force was that there was common ground which nurtured both 'black on black' violence in Africa from the mid seventies and 'Islamic terrorism' globally from the early eighties. The first part of the title offers a brief critique of the cultural interpretations of politics that the author calls 'culture talk' and suggests a different way of thinking about political Islam. It traces the development of different tendencies, including the recent rise of a terrorist movement. The second part of the title explains how Islamist terror, a phenomenon hitherto marginal, came to occupy centre stage in Islamist politics. As such, it provides an alternative interpretation of 9/11. Mamdani's perspective brings fresh illumination to the events of 9/11, a subject of common concern, without obscuring the ways in which 9/11 has come to mark a turning point for America and the world.