Inside Muslim Militancy
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A civil war is being waged among jihadists for the soul of
Islam. While all Islamist radicals may share a vision of a
purified and unified ummah, or Muslim community, few agree
over how to bring it about. Ultra-militant wings, such as Al
Qaeda, dominate our thoughts and headlines, for they
exported their brand of terrorism to America’s shores and
now have carried it into the heart of Iraq. Yet they are in
the minority. Most jihadists are struggling, often against
great odds and under enormous pressures, to accommodate
themselves to gradual social and political change in the
As Middle Eastern scholar and media commentator Fawaz A.
Gerges reveals in this unstinting, deeply personal, and
brilliantly illuminating book, we need to know now more than
ever who the jihadists are and to listen to what they are
saying to each other and the world. Gerges went to Cairo,
birthplace of modern Islamist radical thought, and began a
dialogue with one of the movement’s founders. Using these
conversations as a starting point, Gerges spoke with
hundreds of other jihadists throughout the Arab world,
tracing the evolution of extremist thought from the 1970s to
the present—from the civil war in Lebanon, which Gerges and
his family endured, to the war in Iraq that is giving Al
Qaeda a new lease on life.
The jihadist journey has led through bloodshed and turmoil.
It did not begin on September 11th and it will not end in
Baghdad. This crucially important and timely book maps the
direction jihadism will take in the months and years ahead
by showing where—and with whom—it all started.
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