The roots of radical islam
The Roots of Radical Islam by Gilles KepelThe suicide attacks of 11 September 2001 originated deep within Islamist circles. One of the prime suspects behind the attack, the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, was heavily influenced by Egypt’s radical movements and by Sayyid Qutb, a Muslim Brother who became a prime advocate of jihad and renewed Islamist thought in the 1950s. Widely considered the heir to this legacy, al-Zawahiri remains a driving force behind al-Qaeda itself.
Gilles Kepel, one of the world’s leading experts on Islamist movements, was amongst the first to identify Egypt as the cradle of contemporary Islamism. This seminal work, with a new introduction that puts it in perspective, gives a profoundly perceptive account of the foundations of today’s radical Islamic organisations, and offers compelling insights into the structure, theory and tactics employed by the various groups as early as the 1970s in Egypt.
Gilles Kepel is chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris. He is the editor of four volumes of essays and the author of six books, including Bad Moon Rising (Saqi).
The roots of radical Islam
In one of his letters Thomas Jefferson remarked that in matters of religion "the maxim of civil government" should be reversed and we should rather say, "Divided we stand, united, we fall. This idea was not entirely new; it had some precedents in the writings of Spinoza, Locke, and the philosophers of the European Enlightenment. It was in the United States, however, that the principle was first given the force of law and gradually, in the course of two centuries, became a reality. If the idea that religion and politics should be separated is relatively new, dating back a mere three hundred years, the idea that they are distinct dates back almost to the beginnings of Christianity. Christians are enjoined in their Scriptures to "render
Most commentators argue that Islamic terrorism is a fanatical perversion of Islam which deviates from its true teachings. They call for a Western-style modernization of the Muslim world, hoping thereby that radical Islam will be tamed. This analysis misses the point. The nature of the terrorist threat is unambiguously Islamic and is not so much a deviation from Muslim tradition as an appeal to it. Al Qaeda's ideology draws on two traditions to legitimize itself: one classical, the other modern. Regarding classical Islam, the oft-quoted remark that Islam is a religion of peace is false.
Subscribe to our newsletter and receive updates from Saqi direct to your inbox. Email address:. The suicide attacks of 11 September originated deep within Islamist circles. Widely considered the heir to this legacy, al-Zawahiri remains a driving force behind al-Qaeda itself. Gilles Kepel is professor at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, where he teaches a doctoral programme on the Muslim world.
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PRISTINA -- Kosovo is trying to counter a perceived radicalization threat within its prison population amid reports of a surge in the embrace of more radical beliefs by practicing Muslims and others. A tide of conservative Islam in society has been eyed suspiciously by the government in this predominantly Muslim, secular state with a tradition of religious moderation. Now, dozens of Kosovars who returned from the Middle East -- and individuals who worked in Kosovo as recruiters for extremist groups -- have been imprisoned under a new law that punishes involvement in terrorist activities with prison sentences of between five and 15 years. More returnees have either been arrested or are under investigation for recruiting extremist militants or fighting abroad. The Justice Ministry cited an increase in the number of inmates with radical Islamic beliefs, including many in prison for non-terror-related crimes.
Margaret Warner reports on the Egyptian roots of the radical Islamic movement that led to the attacks on the United States. Cairo's Khan Al-Khalili market has stood for years. Shoppers and sellers jam the streets and alleys. There was little debate, however, on one point. Like 75 percent of Egyptians in a recent poll, no one here believed that Arabs or Muslims, much less Egyptians, could possibly have been involved. The 19 hijackers were all Arabs, of course.