Knowing the Enemy Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror Mary R. Habeck

Publication date:
03 Jan 2006
224 pages: 210 x 140 x 23mm

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After September 11, Americans agonised over why nineteen men hated the United States enough to kill three thousand civilians in an unprovoked assault. Analysts have offered a wide variety of explanations for the attack, but the one voice missing is that of the terrorists themselves. This penetrating book is the first to present the inner logic of al-Qaeda and like-minded extremist groups by which they justify September 11 and other terrorist attacks. Mary Habeck explains that these extremist groups belong to a new movement - known as jihadism - with a specific ideology based on the thought of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb. Jihadist ideology contains new definitions of the unity of God and of jihad, which allow members to call for the destruction of democracy and the United States and to murder innocent men, women and children. Habeck also suggests how the United States might defeat the jihadis, using their own ideology against them.

Mary Habeck is associate professor of history at Yale University. She is coeditor of Spain Betrayed: The Soviet Union in the Spanish Civil War and The Great War and the Twentieth Century, both published by Yale University Press.

' of the best books among many so far on the subject... [It] ought to be necessary reading... Knowing the Enemy is vital in the struggle of ideas.' - Theo Hartman, Centre for Research on Geopolitics