By Mahmood Mamdani, Harmony, Paperback, 320 pages
In this brilliant look at the rise of political Islam, 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.
About the author:
Mahmood Mamdani was born in Kampala, Uganda. A political scientist and anthropologist, he is Herbert Lehman Professor of Government and director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University. His previous books include Citizen and Subject and When Victims Become Killers. In 2001 he presented one of the nine papers at the Nobel Peace Prize Centennial Symposium. He lives in New York City and Kampala with his wife and son.
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