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

I think of civilization as a constant creation whereby we gradually expand the boundaries of community, the boundaries of those with whom we share the world – this is why it is so grotesque to see bombs and food parcels raining on the defenseless people of Afghanistan from the same source. Or, the same thing, that an Orthodox Jew is a potential terrorist and only a Reform Jew is capable of being tolerant of those who do not share his convictions?

The new thing was that these terrorist movements specifically targeted civilians. Even if you should claim to know what is good for humanity, how do you proceed? As different factions fought over the liberated country – the Northern Alliance against the Taliban – they shelled and destroyed their own cities with artillery.

Perhaps no other society paid a higher price for the defeat of the Soviet Union than did Afghanistan. And so did the center of gravity of US-sponsored terrorism. The contemporary history of Southern Africa, Central America, and Afghanistan testifies to this tendency.

Take the example of Islam, and the notion of Jihadwhich roughly translated means struggle. Are there really two meanings of culture? After the Cold War and right up to September 10 of this year, the US and Britain compelled African countries to reconcile with terrorist movements.

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

But in times of prosperity, the short-sighted tend to walk away from others. In practice, it translated into a US decision to harness, or even to cultivate, terrorism in the struggle against regimes it considered pro-Soviet. Could it be true that an orthodox Muslim is a potential terrorist?

This was not a backwater family steeped in pre-modernity, but a cosmopolitan family. An African Perspective on Mahmold Terrorism Eqbal Ahmed writes of a television image fromof Ronald Reagan meeting a group of turbaned men, all Afghani, all leaders of the Mujaheddin. But is it really true that people’s public behavior, specifically their political behavior, can be read from their religion?


It sought specifically to kill and maim civilians, but not all of them.

Transcript: Mahmood Mamdani on Good Muslim, Bad Muslim | Jul 03, 2006

Should official America be held responsible for napalm bombing and spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam? Just as, in another context, the Israeli intelligence created Hamas as an alternative to juslim secular PLO.

Out of a population of roughly 15 million, a million died, another million and a half were maimed, and another five million became refugees.

Conclusion I would like to conclude with the question of responsibility. By doing so, we broaden the bounds of lived community, and of food humanity. The first alternative gives you reason and evangelism; the second gives you the Crusades.

After all, we are now told to distinguish between good Muslims and bad Muslims. I am aware that this does not exhaust the question of culture and politics. Ever since September 11, there has been a growing media interest in Islam. What is the link, many seem to ask, between Islam and terrorism?

Their culture seems to have no history, no politics, and no debates. See also Farish Noor ‘s essay on this site on the evolution of the term ‘Jihad. 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 ggood the Cold War, and compare how the question of responsibility was understood and addressed in two different contexts.

Whose responsibility is it? And only someone who thinks of the text as not literal, but as metaphorical or figurative, is better suited to civic life and the tolerance it calls for? The minor context was the Iranian Revolution of The Contras were not only tolerated and shielded by official America; they were actively nurtured and directly assisted, as in the mining of harbors.

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim by Mahmood Mamdani | : Books

Each has a nad that it possesses the truth. Even when it tries to harness one or another aspect of tradition and culture, it puts this at the service of a modern project. The Bin Laden family is a patron of scholarship.


After all, is there not less and less talk of the clash of civilizations, and more and more talk of the clash inside civilizations? Should it be held responsible for muuslim terrorist movements in Southern Africa and Central America? Thereby, mamdanl hoped to contain the influence of the Iranian Revolution as a minority Shia affair. This conviction is so deep-seated that it is even found in its secular version, as in the old colonial notion of “a civilizing mission,” or in its more racialized version, “the White Man’s Burden.

It has little trace of ethnocentrism.

The terrorists of September 11, we are told, did not just hijack planes; it is said that they also hijacked Islam, meaning genuine Islam! When the Soviet Union was defeated in Afghanistan, this terror was unleashed on Afghanistan in the name of liberation.

The demand was that governments must share power with terrorist organizations in the name of reconciliation – as in Mozambique, in Sierra Leone, and in Angola. We are now told to give serious attention to culture.

Click here for Ahmed’s article explaining Jihad.

The implication is that their only salvation lies, as always, in philanthropy, in being saved from the outside. After that, it seems they just conform to culture.

The Durban conference was about major crimes of the past, about racism, and xenophobia, and related crimes. In one of these articles, Eqbal distinguished between two broad traditions in the understanding of Jihad.

Official America has a habit of not taking responsibility for its own actions. I want to suggest that we turn the cultural theory of politics on its head.

How do you make sense of politics that consciously wears the mantle of religion? Could it be that a person who takes his or her religion literally is a potential terrorist?