Terrorism

Topics: Islam, Jihad, Islamic terrorism Pages: 11 (4092 words) Published: August 11, 2013
Esposito’s Unholy War Book Review

Islamic expert John Esposito mainly focused on the topic of Islam and terrorism while trying to answer some questions, how to make a modern terrorist, what is the definition of Jihad, how does Islam used in the sense of terrorism, by giving historical experiences, and events as examples to enable better understanding.

John L. Esposito’s Unholy War Book includes 4 chapters; The Making of a Modern Terrorist, Jihad and the Struggle for Islam, The Armies of God, Where Do We Go from Here? The history of Islam, Western views of Islam, misunderstandings of Islam in the West, the increase of militant Islam, the alternative applications of Islam, and finally the future of Islam are the main topics that Esposito’s book covered.

In the chapter “The Making of a Modern Terrorist” Esposito mainly focused on Osama Bin Laden’s life, how he became a preeminent ideologue of Jihad International from an educated and shy person. Did his character and/or surroundings affected his terrorist attempts and September 11, 2001 tragedy, what are the reasons of this terrorist attacks? As Islamic expert, Esposito gave importance to history of the Islamic extremism because he knows that a leaders/terrorists don’t appear over night. It is a product of long history of both religious and political ideas because both past and present are joint in the Muslim world. Past is key for terrorist’s legitimization of those attacks by using the sense of Jihad, giving examples from Muhammad’s hegira, so on.

In the Chapter “ Jihad and the Struggle for Islam”, first of all, he tried to explain the definition of Jihad, tried to show how Islam and Jihad abused, gave some examples of it. In one part of this chapter, “ Historical Sources of Revolutionary Jihad” he referred to the origins of extremist groups. Esposito showed important people and organizations like Wahhabism, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Kharijites, Ibn Taymiyyah, Sayyid Qutb and the others. By explaining those people, he also explained what those people opposed while also showing their main political aims. The other important idea that Esposito supported is that the concept of “Jihad” is not a violent or harsh idea/ application of the religious rules. What media shows about the jihad is mostly exaggerated, misguided many times. But the fact that the jihad has both offensive and defensive meanings in early Islamic writings and more importantly in the Qur’an, and those defensive parts used many times to legitimize their harsh, aggressive and harmful terrorist movements. Their main concern is the idea that Islam is under attack from West and just this attack is enough to justify harsh counterattack. Nevertheless, the most apparent use of the jihad idea is based on more peaceful understanding. With this chapter of the book, one can get the idea that different Muslims can have different understandings of Jihad.

In the Chapter of “ Armies of God” Esposito explained how to make an “armies of god”. According to Esposito, with mid- twentieth century, most of the Muslim world had achieved political independence and most rulers, no matter how Muslim he is, had chosen more Westernized and secular way of governing. But as Esposito said; “ looking across the Muslim world, you could see three models for new states; Islamic Secular, and Muslim.” Also in this chapter, Esposito bewares the idea that Islam and capitalism, Islam and human rights, Islam and capitalism and most importantly Islam and democracy are incoherent. And finally, in this chapter, of course, he touches to the issue of women’s rights in Muslim societies today.

In Chapter “ Where Do We Go from Here?” Esposito said that it is possible for Islam to have a democratic future, but it first has to experience some economic and political changes. Nevertheless, it is impossible to have a democratic future in those regions with any intervention from West and this is the idea what almost all extremists are...

References: 4- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 39-40.
7- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 49.
8- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 77.
9- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 77
10- John L
11- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 78.
12- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 78.
13- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 78.
14- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 20.
15- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 5-6.
16- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 6.
17- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 111.
18- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 30.
19- Martha Crenshaw, Comparative Politics, Vol. 13, No. 4. (Jul., 1981), pp. 380.
20- Martha Crenshaw, Comparative Politics, Vol. 13, No. 4. (Jul., 1981), pp. 381.
21- Martha Crenshaw, Comparative Politics, Vol. 13, No. 4. (Jul., 1981), pp. 385.
22- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 69.
23- John L. Esposito, Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 69.
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