Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

By Mahmood Mamdani,

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

Book description

In this brilliant look at the rise of political Islam, the distinguished political scientist and anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani brings his expertise and insight to bear on a question many Americans have been asking since 9/11: how did this happen?

Mamdani dispels the idea of “good” (secular, westernized) and “bad” (premodern,…

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Why read it?

1 author picked Good Muslim, Bad Muslim as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani wrote Good Muslim, Bad Muslim shortly after the 9/11 attacks. The book is a rebuttal of the U.S. government’s justifications for the War on Terror and military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, which relied heavily on the inaccurate notion that terrorism is a product of anti-modern passions embedded in Islamic culture. Mamdani uses history as a corrective, illustrating how such “culture talk” has deep roots in European imperialism, and how a violent strand of political Islam emerged from modern anticolonial movements in the Middle East and gained global influence amid U.S. covert military operations in the second…

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