Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism. Mahmood Mamdani. Department of Anthropology and. U. MAHMOOD MAMDANI. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Pers on Culture and Terrorism. ABSTRACT The link between Islam and terrorism became a. Mahmood Mamdani’s Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold. War and the Roots of Terror is a book about historical memory and politics. Mamdani hopes.

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Renamo in Mozambique, and Unita in Angola.

A student of mine gave me a series of articles written by the Pakistani academic and journalist, Eqbal Ahmed, in the Karachi-based newspaper, Dawn. It was not the US which faced physical and civic destruction at the end of the war. Each has a conviction that it possesses the truth. I would like to conclude with the muslik of responsibility. Remember, it was not so long ago that some claimed that the behavior of others could be read from their genes. Always, the idea was to leave a few to go and tell the story, to spread fear.

That initiative was called the Marshall Plan. I think of it as an enlightened version, because it does not just speak of the other, but also of self. This article is born of dissatisfaction with the new tood that we must tell apart the Good Muslim from musllm Bad Muslim. The contemporary history of Southern Africa, Central America, and Afghanistan testifies to this tendency.

Official America has a habit umslim not taking responsibility for its own actions.

By doing so, we broaden the bounds of lived community, and of lived humanity. What is the link, many seem to muslimm, between Islam and terrorism?

Mahmood Mamdani: Good Muslim, Bad Muslim — An African Perspective

Their culture seems to have no history, no politics, and no debates. The second, called “big Jihad ,” thinks of Jihad as more of a spiritual struggle against the self in a contaminated world. The first, called “little Jihad ,” thinks of Jihad as a struggle against external enemies of Islam. In what follows, I would like to offer you a perspective on contemporary terrorism from an African vantage point.


Both consider the world beyond a sea of ignorance, one that needs to be redeemed.

The Islamic world had not seen an armed Jihad for centuries. It is my own construction, but it is not a fabrication.

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror

Islam and Christianity have one thing in common. Some may object that I am presenting a caricature of what we read in the press. After that, it seems they just conform to culture. It could not find a Prince. Even more, these people seem incapable of transforming their culture, the way they seem incapable of growing their own food.

How do you make sense of politics that consciously wears the mantle of religion? The Question of Responsibility To understand the question of who bears responsibility for the present situation, it will help to contrast two situations, that after the Second World War and that after the Cold War, and compare how the question of responsibility was understood and addressed in two different contexts.

I use the word Crusade, not Jihadbecause only the notion of Crusade can accurately convey the frame of mind in which this initiative was taken. But in the other part of the world, it stands for habit, for some kind of instinctive activity, whose rules are inscribed in early founding texts, usually religious, and museumized in early artifacts? This is the context in which the US accepted responsibility for restoring conditions for decent life in noncommunist Europe.

When I read this, or something like this, I wonder if this world of ours is after all divided into two: But civilization cannot be built on just forgetting.


The Spectatora British weekly, carried a lead article a few weeks ago that argued that the link was not with all of Islam, but with a very literal interpretation of it. Could it be that a person who takes his or her religion literally is a potential terrorist? It is true that, unless we learn to forget, life will turn into revenge-seeking.

Transcript: Mahmood Mamdani on Good Muslim, Bad Muslim | Jul 03, |

Terrorism is not a cultural residue in modern politics. Afghanistan was a brutalized society even before the present war began. In Southern Africa, the immediate result was a partnership between the US and apartheid South Africa, accused by the UN of perpetrating “a mualim against humanity.

The new thing was that these terrorist movements specifically targeted civilians. When the Soviet Union was defeated in Afghanistan, this terror was unleashed on Afghanistan in the name of liberation.

The Contras were not only tolerated and shielded mislim official America; they were actively nurtured and directly assisted, as kuslim the mining of harbors. The object of spreading fear was to paralyze government.

The shifting center of gravity of the Cold War was the major context in which Afghanistan policy was framed.

But now the CIA was determined to create one. Think, for example, of the Arabic word al-Jahaliyawhich I have always known to mean the domain of ignorance.

All of this is true, but I don’t think it explains terrorism.