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Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  136 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Renowned Middle Eastern expert Fawaz A. Gerges takes us into the mind-set of the jihadi—or holy warrior—that lies behind so many headlines yet remains nearly impenetrable to us. Using his firsthand knowledge of the "Arab street," he brings to life the stories of Kamal al-Said Habib, a founder of the Jihadist Movement, as well as dozens of other Islamic fundamentalists, as ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 5th 2007 by Mariner Books (first published 2006)
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3.82  · 
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 ·  136 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Feb 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well I made it about eighty pages through this book, and can’t stomach any more. It is entirely pro-Islamist, constantly excusing and justifying Islamic radicalism and blaming Christians, Jews, Israel and the United States. I can’t say I’ve ever done this with any other book, but this one went in the trash.
Armour Craig
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very informative book about the history of Islam and the journey to religious enlightenment that Muslims undertake.

This book provides a lot of detail about the differences between Sunni and Shi'ia Islam, when and how the division began, and why it is still a problem today.

Finally, it examines what exactly a Jihadist is, and how they can become ultra-radical and violent out of a peaceful religion.

Extremely interesting and informative book.
Apr 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Great book. Just reinforced my opinion that (militant) Islam is the greatest threat the civilized world faces today. Yes, Gerges comes across as ambivalent about his subject, that is, he doesn't render an opinion good or bad about his particular jihadists.
Jul 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
The book wandered too much for me and Gerges, while claiming no particular viewpoint, fails to make a lasting impression. There are far better books to learn about the "journey of the jihadist."
George Mochengo
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Using his first-hand knowledge of the "Arab street", Fawaz illustrates how Muslims and Christians used to stay side by side in most parts of the Middle East, and Lebanon in particular. This people shared culture and tradition and were engaged in common activities. Unfortunately, It takes one person or a group of people to cause divisions, hate, and conflicts by planting the seed religious intolerance and sectarianism.
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting, informative, well written... the holy trinity of non-fiction, plus it's well-researched, essentially unbiased, and won't put you to sleep. It is more a broad overview than an exhausting resource, which is fine with me, but it touches on all the important facets of the modern jihad, mentioning many of the most influential events, thinkers and doers as well as their reception by mainstream Islam. If you feel you may be ignorant about this rather touchy subject and want to learn more w ...more
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
The author gained the trust of some very, very dangerous and key people in mujahedeen movements from North Africa to Afghanistan, and relates their beliefs and behavior, using a combination of their own words and documents among other things. It's very well done and I think it would be important for Westerners to read to understand the motivations for their desperate acts. Note that understanding is not to be confused with condoning. This combined with "After the Prophet" was a good pair of book ...more
May 31, 2007 rated it it was ok
There is very little in this book that isn't almost entirely undermined by the total moral relativism of its author. It is clear that the author isn't certain what he considers right and wrong, even at a very basic level, making him a particularly dangerous guide to this subject, which is as morally and spiritually complex as it is politically and historically. There is some value, however, in his interviews with the Egyptian jihadists and his analysis of primary sources that aren't currently tr ...more
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
While the same names come up in the creation of al Qaeda that I read in Looming Towers, this author gives a broader middle east perspective in how messed up the US's relationship is with the Muslim world. It is a few old now, but the problems continue and are exacerbated by the continuation of Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp and drone strikes. He sums it up nicely in the afterword that even the future of Islam is being fought over by the various regions of where Muslims live- Arabia, Pakistan, Indone ...more
A pretty good primer on all things modern jihadism, covers the breadth of late 20th c. to current events and the development of jihad across the various Muslim ethnicities and cultures. Certainly reminds the reader that there are a lot of complexities, internal dynamics and even significant disagreements throughout the various groups and movements.
Jul 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Islamic militancy has a long history and lots of flavors. Complicated power struggles. Hatred of the US re Israel/Palestine. Idealistic holy warriors. I need to read it again to fully understand it all.
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Very well-written, very nuanced. A great deal of this book was a surprise to me--I hadn't realized the range of opinion that existed within the jihadist world. I wish the Bush administration had had this level of understanding.
Mary Gail O'Dea
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book about the development of jihadism in the Middle East. I adds history and background to the "why" of jihadists -- what do they want, what do they need, how can we reach them? Very well written.
Oct 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: islam-crusades
Just re-read this one in light of the Boston Bombing...even better this time, and oddly illuminating.
Everyone needs to read this book. It helps open conversation and all things begin when we talk. This will go nicely with our Muslim Journeys bookshelf!
Robert  Garcia
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-stuff
Very insight full and eye opening. A very good read
Jan 10, 2009 added it
I just couldn't get into this book. This topic is something I wish to learn more about but this was just not the right book. Maybe I'll pick it up another time and try again.
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