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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This conviction is so deep-seated that it is even found in its secular version, goood in the old colonial notion of “a civilizing mission,” or in its more racialized version, “the White Man’s Burden. 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? It is my own construction, but it is not a fabrication.

Both consider the world beyond a sea of ignorance, one that needs to be redeemed.

Rather than see this politics as the outcome of an archaic culture, I suggest we see neither the culture not the politics as archaic, but both as very contemporary outcomes of equally contemporary conditions, relations and conflicts. Even more, these people seem incapable of transforming their culture, the way they seem incapable of growing their own mamdni.

This article is born of dissatisfaction with the new wisdom that we must tell apart the Good Muslim from the Bad Muslim.

But is it really true that people’s public behavior, specifically their muslom behavior, can be read from their religion? The contemporary history of Southern Africa, Central America, and Afghanistan testifies to this tendency. This is how it goes.


After that, it seems they just conform to culture. The grand plan of the Reagan administration was two-pronged. Before exploring the politics of it, let me clarify the historical moment.

Like Afghanistan, are these countries hosting terrorism, or are they also hostage to terrorism?

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

I returned from Durban to listen to Condoleeza Rice talk about the need to forget slavery because, she said, the pursuit of civilized life requires that we forget the past.

In what follows, I would like to offer you a perspective on contemporary terrorism from an African vantage point. Contemporary “fundamentalism” is a modern project, not a traditional leftover. It sought specifically to kill and maim civilians, but not all of them.

By persuasion or force? First, it drooled at the prospect of uniting a billion Muslims around a holy war, a Crusade, against the evil empire. This is the context in which the US accepted responsibility for restoring conditions for decent life in noncommunist Europe. The first, called “little Jihad ,” thinks of Jihad as a struggle against external enemies of Islam.

Could it be that a person who takes his or her religion literally is a potential terrorist? We seek friends and allies in times of danger. Each has a conviction that it possesses the truth.

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

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? Godo 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.


Conclusion I would like to conclude with the question of responsibility.

The question of responsibility for postwar reconstruction did not just arise as a moral question; it ogod as a political question. It is said that culture is now a matter of life and death. The implication is that their only salvation lies, as always, in philanthropy, in being saved from the outside.

The first alternative gives you reason and evangelism; the second gives you the Crusades.

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

Madani, for example the mammdani of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, both of whom claim to be waging a Jihada just war against the enemies of Islam? Perhaps no other society paid a higher price for the defeat of the Soviet Union than did Afghanistan. But it settled for the next best, the son of an illustrious family closely connected to the royal family.

It was not the US which faced physical and civic destruction at the end of the war. I would like to conclude with the question of responsibility. This was not a backwater family steeped in pre-modernity, but a cosmopolitan family.

Think, for example, of the Arabic word al-Jahaliyawhich I have always known to mean the domain of ignorance. Should official America be held responsible for bav bombing and spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam?