Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Inside Jihad

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Inside Jihad

Article excerpt

Inside Jihad, updated ed. By Ta wfik Hamid. Mountain Lake Park, Md.: Mountain Lake Press, 2015. 238 pp. $16.95.

Aymann Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's leader and chief ideologue, once turned to the author of this newly reissued book and declared, "Young Muslims like you are the hope for the future return of Khilafa [the Caliphate or Islamic global dominance]" Thus, this exploration of Islamic radicalism by Hamid, a former member of the Egyptian jihad group al-Jama'a al-Islamiya and now an ex-Muslim, is a welcome and honest take on the Islamist menace afflicting the world today.

Cutting through the prevailing denial and obfuscation about the nature of Islam and its teachings, the author asserts that "claiming Islam is peaceful without changing the violent teachings constitutes unrealistic lip service that aims at deceiving others." Along these lines, Hamid targets the deceptive and misleading presentations about Islam frequently employed by Islamists to portray their faith as a religion of peace. His chapter, "Myths and Misconceptions about Islamism," is an exercise in genuine mythbusting as he explains lucidly why poverty, discrimination, and authoritarian rule are not, as popularly thought, the root causes of Islamic terrorism.

He demonstrates that the ideological impetus for that terrorism comes from sources that most Western analysts take pains to write off as having nothing whatsoever to do with it: the Qur'an and Sunna (body of recommended practice). …

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