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Al Qaeda in Its Own Words

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  25 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Despite the frequent appearances of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri on television screens worldwide, Al Qaeda remains an elusive entity. As the world has grown increasingly familiar with the spectacle of Islamist terrorism, Al Qaeda s essential worldview has remained bewilderingly opaque. To reveal its inner workings, Gilles Kepel and his collaborators, all scholars ...more
Paperback, 363 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Belknap Press (first published January 1st 2005)
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Sean Glover
I read this book for the social science style analysis of Islamic fundamentalism. While the dogmatic diatribes were not very engaging, the authors notes on the texts were informative enough to make it worthwhile, especially references to the atrocities the Muslim world has seen in contemporary history, for examples, the civil war in Tajikistan, scapegoating in Burma, wars in Chechnya and Bosnia, massacres in Lebanon (1962?) and Jenin (2002)and the international sanctions around the first Iraq wa ...more
Tariq Mahmood
If you want to find out what 'the rules' or Al Qaida really means, the. This book is the right choice. As a knowledgeable Muslim with a lot of study of the Islamic history, I found the references and notes section very useful indeed as it furthered by understandings of the latent and searing resentment felt by Sunnis towards their present plight. Basically, it's everyone else's fault that they find their society struggling and decadent. Too much focus on history of a bygone era will naturally re ...more
Amar Pai
Scholarly yet accessible

Update 9/12/2012: This book is more relevant than ever, e.g. see this article on the murder of the US Ambassador to Libya. Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abdullah Azzam are two of the four al-Qaeda members whose writings are profiled in Al Qaeda in Its Own Words. Azzam in particular is worth knowing more about; he was the "preeminent theoretician of global jihad," and the major ideological force behind al-Qaeda and related movements. He's not as well known as Osama bin Laden, but
This is an important work. It provides a collection of literature from four of the principal architects of the Al Qaeda movement. Before each of the four sections, it provides a detailed historical background to set the thinker in a tangible context and prepare the reader who might otherwise be lost in a set of foreign ideas.

I recommend it to anyone who sincerely believes it is necessary to understand the other side in the global conflict on terrorism, not just obliterate it.
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A French scholar and analyst of the Islamic and the Arab world. He has written works on Radical Islam including Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. He was the Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs for 2009-10 at LSE IDEAS (Centre for Diplomacy & Strategy, at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Professor Kepel has previously been a visiting professor at Col
More about Gilles Kepel...
Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West Muslim Extremism in Egypt: The Prophet and Pharaoh, With a New Preface for 2003 The Revenge of God: The Resurgence of Islam, Christianity and Judaism in the Modern World Beyond Terror and Martyrdom: The Future of the Middle East

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