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Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam

Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam
Gilles Kepel

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In recent years, the world order has been rocked by an explosive, unexpected and extraordinary phenomenon: political Islam. Beginning in the early 1970s, militants revolted against the regimes in power across the Muslim world and exacerbated political conflicts internationally. Their jihad - or 'Holy Struggle' - aimed to establish a global Islamic state based solely on a strict interpretation of the Qur'an. "Jihad" is the first comprehensive attempt to follow the history and spread of this new political-religious phenomenon today, from the rise of Al Qaeda to the explosion of support for Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad in the wake of the Second Palestinian Intifada. It is the definitive work on what the West has called 'Islamic Fundamentalism', and offers the boldest assessment of its past, its present, and where it might lead in the future. "Jihad" is vital reading for everyone concerned with the state of the world today.

Table of Contents


Part I - Expansion

A Cultural Revolution
Islam in the Late 1960s
Building Petro-Islam on the Ruins of Arab Nationalism
Islamism in Egypt, Malaysia, and Pakistan
Khomeini's Revolution and Its Legacy
Jihad in Afghanistan and Intifada in Palestine
Islamization in Algeria and the Sudan
The Fatwa and the Veil in Europe

Part II - Decline

From the Gulf War to the Taliban Jihad
The Failure to Graft Jihad on Bosnia's Civil War
The Logic of Massacre in the Second Algerian War
The Threat of Terrorism in Egypt
Osama bin Laden and the War against the West
Hamas, Israel, Arafat, and Jordan
The Forced Secularization of Turkish Islamists


Author Info

Gilles Kepel is one of the world's foremost experts on the current Middle East and is director of research at the CNRS in Paris, and Professor at the Institute for Political Studies in Paris.


'I read this in Pakistan, over a period of weeks shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Its sweep across the broad landscape of radical Sunni activism was a revelation. The book is one of the few genuinely rigorous academic overviews of the social and historical roots of the phenomenon of modern Muslim extremism – ranging geographically from the far east to Europe, and chronologically from the 1960s onwards – that also remains readable. Its primary thesis – that violent Islamic militancy is in large part a response to the failure of political Islamist activism – has stood the test of time. Kepel is famous in France but almost unknown outside. This is a shame. A classic.'
Jason Burke, The Guardian

'No-one else has attempted so bold an overview of the Islamist phenomenon. Of all the books on this subject, this is the most challenging and the most illuminating.'
The Economist

'Simply excellent...'
Malise Ruthven, Prospect

'deeply researched, deeply measured and deeply instructive - the best survey available and likely to remain so'
Justin Wintle, Sunday Times

'Kepel's work... spans the world of political Islam, from the assassination of Egypt's President Anwar Sadat, to the establishment of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network in Afghanistan. He has the knack of explaining how events in one part of the Islamic world have affected developments elsewhere.'
Anton La Guardia, The Daily Telegraph

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781845112578
Publication Date: 24 Feb 2006
Number of Pages: 472
Illustrations: maps

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