10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
An excellent exploration of Islamic militancy,
This review is from: Al-Qaeda: The True Story of Radical Islam (Paperback)
I purchased this book having seen the author interviewed for the BBC's recent series 'The Power of Nightmares'. During the interview the author articulated the view that Al-Qaeda was not an orgnisation headed by a 'Madman' with the ability to send out a call to dormant sleeper cells worldwide, but rather an idea that various militant groups have attached themselves to. This is similarly a central thrust of his book.
The book gives an insight into the teachings of the Qu'ran and the Hadith and how it's words and teachings have harnessed the minds of men throughout the years. I found it fascinating and provides some insight into the minds of people who commit terrorist acts. The book is also an excellent chronological account of the lives of various key figures in 'Al-Qaeda'(including bin Laden and al-Zawihri) and Islamic militancy in general. The author's obvious wealth of knowledge is clear, having visited many of the places and met many of the key figures himself.
Many English readers may find the numerous lengthy names confusing at times (I confess to being lost on more than one occasion) but this minor criticism is answered by a useful glossary of the key figures at the back.
The book ends with a picture of the true and worrying state of militancy today and the threat facing the West, seen as spreaders of 'kufr' (unbelief). 'Al-Qaeda', whatever it was and is today, has captured the imaginations and minds of many angry individuals whose anger, in a worrying departure from being turned to matters in their own states, is now directed at the West and America in particular. I recommend it as required reading - it takes large steps towards helping understand what motivates terrorist actions against the West and just what people are prepared to sacrifice for their greater vision...Only by first understanding can we start to work towards a lasting global peace.