Nations have different ways of talking about themselves. Americans tend to discuss their country in an idiom of national greatness, however radically they may disagree about the nature of this providential blessing. The French, on the contrary, make berating their country a national sport. Anyone who has recently spent time in France has heard the exasperation with which its citizens are prone to speak of their homeland, often describing it as “little country” whose glory days are behind it. Such talk is hardly new. In the 1930s, the writer Louis-Ferdinand Céline—a master in the genre—mused about his nation’s fate: “We’ll disappear body and soul from this place like the Gauls … They left us hardly twenty words of their own language. We’ll be lucky if anything more than ‘merde’ survives us.”[footnote]Louis-Ferdinand Céline, L’École des cadavres (Paris : Denoël, 1938).[/footnote]
Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’
Spencer Ackerman discusses at length the “dozens of pages of recent FBI training material on Islam that Danger Room has acquired,” each one exposing practices and teachings of blatant discrimination, racial profiling, and cultural ignorance.
I agree with Kahn (and with Schmitt) about the fact that political theory should leave room for decision and exception. But to me, the main question is: to what extent? Are there no principles that admit no exception? When I read Kahn, as when I read Schmitt, I don’t seem to encounter any such principles—anything like what Habermas thematized in Law and Morality as “indisponibility,” that is, rights that are not at the disposal of the sovereign. Can the sovereign decide that torture is a legitimate practice? The answer, to me, should be no without exception.
Andrew Sullivan discusses the difference between Christianity and “Chritianism” in light of the recent terrorist attack in Norway.
New York Times national religion correspondent Laurie Goodstein has written a bio/exposé piece on Brigitte Gabriel: “Through her books, media appearances and speeches, and her organization, ACT! for America, Ms. Gabriel has become one of the most visible personalities on a circuit of self-appointed terrorism detectors who warn that Muslims pose an enormous danger within United States borders.”
More than nine years (and a few weeks) have now passed since the events of 9/11, and as Religion in America blogger Paul Matzko noted on the attacks’ ninth anniversary earlier this month, the religious overtones of how Americans remember that day are palpable.
As Dina Temple-Rastin of NPR reports, controversy over Park51 has reached a new zenith in way of irony. Far from helping to win the “War on Terror,” the Right Wing’s open and vociferous hostility has seemingly done the exact opposite.
Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri has founded the United Kingdom’s first anti-terrorism camp, reports Dominic Casciani for the BBC.
John Calvert, Professor of History at Creighton University and a specialist in political Islam, in hisforthcoming biography of Sayyid Qutb, “rescues Qutb from misrepresentation, tracing the evolution of his thought within the context of his time.” InSayyid Qutb and the Origins of Radical Islamism(2010), he does not look to absolve Qutb of his virulent rhetoric but pushes the reader to understand Qutb in his own setting and time and to delve deeper into the writing of the influential Islamist thinker. Qutb, who was executed in Egypt in 1966, has been studied extensively but Thomas Hegghammer from Harvard University states: “We are dealing with a rare book that is likely to become a classic in the field of political Islam.”
“Can you do counterterrorism without theology?” Increasingly, critics are calling into question the Western strategy of supporting moderate and more “acceptable” forms of Islam throughout the world. In response to the question above, posted at The Guardian, Mehdi Hasan, a senior editor at the New Statesman, argues that “it is not the business of the state to back one or other interpretation of Islam – or any other faith.”
USA Today reported yesterday on a novel tactic for combating Islamic radicalism now being implemented in Germany.
Criticism from counterterror experts targeting President Obama’s recent attempt to curtail the demonization of Islam and Muslims by way of limiting the number of rhetorical references to Islamic radicalism makes the headlines.
Kevin Drum is duly indignant about the case of Yahya Wehelie, a U.S. citizen placed on the no-fly list and effectively banned from returning to his home in Virginia.
In an interview with Eren Güvercin, Olivier Roy tries to clear up some of the misconceptions that plague and exacerbate debates over the cultural commensurability of Islam and contemporary Europe.
In my opening post, I suggested that a second assumption underpinning the Chicago Report is that American foreign policy should more effectively engage with and support the “good Muslims.” In this post, I seek once again to consider the coherence and plausibility of this prescription. Is it really true that you can read people’s political behavior from their religion or culture? Again, as Mamdani asks, “Could it be that a person who takes his or her religion literally is a potential terrorist? 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? How, one may ask, does the literal reading of religious texts translate into hijacking, murder, and terrorism?”
This raises the complex question of what, in the words of Saba Mahmood, “constitutes religion and a proper religious subjectivity in the modern world,” and how such a conception relates to the language and normative structure of religious freedom in international law and politics. It is not possible here to address the details of such a complex set of issues, but let me offer just a couple of observations and lines of inquiry for future thought and discussion.
John Esposito reports at On Faith that Muhammad Tahir Qadri, an influential Pakistani cleric, has “issued a 600-page fatwa, described as an ‘absolute’ condemnation of terrorism without ‘any excuses or pretexts.’ He declared that terrorists and suicide bombers were unbelievers and that ‘Terrorism is terrorism, violence is violence and it has no place in Islamic teaching and no justification can be provided for it, or any kind of excuses or ifs or buts.'”
Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka describes the desperate situation in his native Nigeria in an interview with The Daily Beast’s Tunku Varadarajan.
Ever since the capture of John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban,” the media has been on the lookout for overly enthusiastic high school students who convert to Islam and end up on the front lines of the war on terror.
James L. Rowell, an assistant professor of religion at Flager College, examines divergent forms of religious leadership through studies of Gandhi and Osama bin Laden.
Today we are once more at a time when lawless violence proliferates and territorial boundaries are infringed upon, when state leaders invoke “non-state actors” and argue for the need to respond in kind. Are new political formations taking shape in our midst, even as we defend the old order?
Whatever the global elements involved in these brutal events, from militant methods to media coverage, crucial is the fact that they were plugged into a local history of religious violence in Mumbai and elsewhere in the country, if only to scramble and so utterly transform this past.
While the dichotomy of “moderate” Muslims and “extremists” is prevalent in many media representations, this binary hides more than it reveals.
I grew up in Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1950s and early 1960s. I spoke Tamil with my mother, a combination of English and Tamil with my siblings and my father, and various brands of Gujarati, Marathi and Hindi with friends, domestic helpers, neighbors, bureaucrats and shopkeepers. […]
As the citizens of this vast metropolis seek to restore some semblance of normalcy to their lives, it is important to probe the possible reasons for this horrific episode and explore its ramifications for the future of India’s plural, democratic and secular state. […]
It is difficult to be completely impersonal about what happened in Mumbai last week. Some friends lost their near and dear ones to the mindless bullets of murderous terrorists. […]
“People of faith want a candidate who can beat radical Islam.” So claimed Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, in a statement endorsing John McCain for the Republican primary in South Carolina. Graham’s statement is deeply disheartening, but hardly unexpected, especially for one who watched the Republican candidates debate just before the New Hampshire Primary. Ron Paul, who is loony on just about every other issue, was the one sane voice when it came to foreign policy and the Middle East. […]