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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Before exploring the politics of it, let me clarify the historical moment. 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 mmamdani Cold War, and compare how the question of responsibility was understood and addressed in two different contexts.

Each has a conviction that it possesses the truth. After the meeting, Reagan brought them out into the White House lawn, and introduced them to the media in these words: Or, the nuslim 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? Here is one version of the argument that the clash is inside – and not between – civilizations. It seems just to have petrified into a lifeless custom.

Take, for example the politics of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, both of whom claim to be waging a Jihadmusilm just war against the enemies of Islam?

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

After that, it seems they just conform to culture. It is an Islamic version of the Christian notion of “just madani. But in times of prosperity, the short-sighted tend to walk away from others. Should we, ordinary humanity, hold official America responsible for its actions during the Cold War?

But civilization cannot be built on just forgetting.

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

I think of it as an enlightened version, because it does not just speak of the other, but also of self. In what follows, I would like to offer you a perspective on contemporary terrorism from an African vantage point. Always, the idea was to leave a few to go and tell the story, to spread fear. Even if you should claim to know what is good for humanity, how do you proceed? 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.


The terrorists of September 11, we are told, did not just hijack planes; it is said that they also hijacked Islam, meaning genuine Islam! 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. Ever since September 11, there has been a growing media interest in Islam. Their culture seems to have no history, no politics, and no debates. It was not the US which faced physical and civic destruction at the end of the war.

The minor context was the Iranian Revolution of Their terrorism was of a type Africa had never seen before.

And so did the center of gravity of US-sponsored terrorism. Could it muslik that a person who takes his or her religion literally is a potential terrorist?

Could it be true that an orthodox Muslim is a potential terrorist? After all, is there not less and less talk of the clash of civilizations, and more and more talk of the clash inside civilizations? By including those previously excluded, we give those previously alienated a stake in things.

This partnership bolstered a number of terrorist movements: The bood, called “big Jihad ,” thinks of Jihad as more of a spiritual struggle against the self in a contaminated world. The mus,im of spreading fear was to paralyze government.

Out of a population of roughly 15 million, a million died, another million and a half were maimed, and another five million became refugees. The first, called “little Jihad ,” thinks of Jihad as a struggle against external enemies of Islam. The Question of Responsibility. It has little trace of ethnocentrism.

Mind you, not between good and bad persons, nor between criminals and civic citizens, who both happen to be Muslims, but between good Muslims and bad Muslims. How, one may ask, does the literal reading of religious texts translate into hijacking, murder, and terrorism?


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

That perhaps is the real challenge today. We seek friends and allies in times of danger. Instead of dismissing history and politics as does culture talk, I suggest we place cultural debates in historical and political contexts. Terrorism is not a cultural residue in modern politics.

This was not a backwater family steeped in pre-modernity, but a cosmopolitan family. The implication is that their only salvation lies, as musljm, in philanthropy, in being saved from the outside.

Culture Talk Is our world really divided into two, so that one part makes culture and the other is a prisoner of culture? I feel I am reading of people who are said not to make culture, except at the beginning of creation, as some extraordinary, prophetic, act.

It is said that culture is now a matter of life and death. 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 Question of Responsibility To understand the maamdani 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 mmuslim was understood and addressed in two different contexts.

In Europe, its urgency was underlined by the changing political situation in Yugoslavia, Albania, and particularly, Greece.

It could not find a Prince. Both have a sense of mission to civilize the world. We must not only learn to forget, we must also not forget to learn.

First, it drooled at the prospect of uniting a billion Muslims around a holy war, a Crusade, against the evil empire. Should it be held responsible for cultivating terrorist movements in Southern Africa and Central America?

Take the example of Islam, and the notion of Jihadwhich roughly translated means struggle.