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God's Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad
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God's Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  135 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
In today's post-9/11 world, the everyday news shows us images of fanatic fighters and suicide bombers willing to die in holy war, martyrs for jihad. But what are the roots of this militant fundamentalism in the Muslim world? In this insightful and wide-ranging history, Charles Allen finds an answer in the eighteenth-century reform movement of Muhammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab and ...more
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published August 28th 2006 by Da Capo Press (first published February 23rd 2006)
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Aasem Bakhshi
One way to find what is wrong with this book is to see reviews of those who end up liking it. Take for instance the readers who claim that Charles Allen's narrative is important for those who want to 'familiarize themselves with religions they don't know', or 'insightful read into the origins of Jihad' etc; one five star reader even calls it a 'must read for those who want to understand Afghanistan'. Therefore, I would consider it a dangerous text as it ends up portraying itself (perhaps inadver ...more
Abhay Nair
Apr 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
A bit dry on narrative & one dimensional!

The book that traces the progress of radical Islamic Fundamentalism from an isolated & discarded tribe in Nejd (in present day Saudi Arabia) to the Khandahar (Afghanistan).

Chronologically it draws from notes, reports and experiences of British individuals spanning more than two centuries.

It states the dynamics that evolved this extreme puritan form of Islam from spurts of aggression to the world's most efficiently organized terrorist outfit.

Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book for it's historical value. I really knew nothing about the 17, 1800's in this part of the world. As a newbie, I found it hard to "stay" with this book at times, but found it very worthwhile and rewarding reading in the end.
Ginger Heskett
Mar 22, 2017 marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Sam Davison
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was ok
Interestingg, although solely from the Western point of view.
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Challenging the notion that the Taliban arose following the anti-Soviet mujahedeen movement in the 1980s, Charles Allen traces the antecedents of the movement to the period following the collapse of Mughal power in India and the rise of the British in the 18th-19th centuries.

The ideology of the Taliban can be traced even further back to ibn Taymiyya, the 13th cenutry scholar, jurist and reformer. He lived through the devastation of the Islamic world following the Mongol invasions, and advocated
Sajith Kumar
Apr 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Terrorism has been the most critical factor on global agenda, ever since the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001. Almost the entire TV-viewing world knows who Osama bin Laden was and a few even know about the Wahhabi cult to which the master terrorist belonged. But the origin and development of the sect which envelops the whole of Saudi Arabia under its umbrella and protects the holy cities of Islam is a tale not told before in a popularly accessible book. Charles Allen does all this, ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it liked it
If you want to know about the Wahhabi movement the Sub-Continent during the British Raj, this is one of the key texts quite frequently cited these days. Charles Allen specialises in the history of the British rule over India. Follow this text and you would find the followers of the three major religions in British India: Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism as troublemakers, passive and faithful to the their British masters respectively, a point of view which would not be very flattering to any of these ...more
Mar 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Don't be put off by all of the names. I learned pretty quickly that unless and until Allen distilled Arabic names to their basic form I didn't need to try to remember every person mentioned. Another "must read" for those interested in religions with which they may not be familiar. Most Americans by now have heard of Sunni, Shia, and even Sufi Muslims. How many are familiar with Wahhabism? Well, we need to be! I was excited a couple of years ago when one of the major news magazines actually did a ...more
Jan 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: all history students and lecturers
Recommended to Uwais by: My history teacher
I finished reading the sections related to Wahabism in India. I felt the author needs to present facts rather than asserting his assumptions. Alongside with grave misrepresentation of texts is his novice and superficial knowledge of religious theology, not to mention the lack of understanding of the Indian culture and religious ideas of the time.

All in all, the book is worth a read so that it gives an idea to people how historic events can be twisted and misrepresented.

A clever way to show how
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
The majority of this book was interesting and seemed to be well researched. I thought the author did a fairly decent job of describing the history of the Wahhabis, at least one perspective of it. Unfortunately, the end of the book illuminated his lack of understanding in some areas and seemed quite hurried. This was unfortunate because had he devoted the same level of research and understanding it could have been useful. I felt that his bias and lack of understanding then devalued the effort he ...more
Mar 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
KNowing that his Western' readers have trouble keeping track of Middle-Eastern names, the author provides a handy reference in the back, but It is still as difficult as keeping track of all the Henrys, Edwards and Richards in English History. The author sheds light on the 18th century origins of the Wahabi strain of Islam that is the religion of the ruling Sauds in Saudi Arabia as well as being the genesis of the Taliban in Afganistan. He delineates how the sect started in Iran and then transfer ...more
Aparna Singh
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
While a worthy subject and offering some useful perspective to the present day Islamic terrorists, the book was ploddingly dull and I had to push myself to finish. The writing style was dry; the only characters humanised were the British officers in the East India company and army. The bulk of the mujahideen all sounded like each other, and there was little insight into their lives' circumstances, the historical events of the time or their motivations, beyond a simple recounting of key events in ...more
Pinko Palest
Mar 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
a very interesting subject, but a rather tedious result: there are so many names crammed into every page that it is difficult to follow if you know little of indian history during the 19th century. This seems to be a conscious choice by the author, who is more concerned to discuss personalities rather than what these personalities stood for. Still, contains some very revealing and useful information, if one can just keep going
Rajendra Dave
Dec 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An interesting story of the roots of present day fanaticism, especially on the western frontier of the sub-continent. It is a very well researched book. Maybe that is the reason for sometime draggingly long narratives of events.
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most important, or maybe the most important book to understanding of wahhabism and its base in India/Pakistan/Afghanistan. If you want to know the ties between taliban, tablighi, deobandi, salafi and wahhabi movements, it's the right book to learn it.
the described storyline is enuf to create interest
Margaret Sankey
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recounts the mid 18th century encounter of British officials in India and Afghanistan to the new strain of Wahhabi Islam and the reactions of other Muslims.
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
A hard read but a must read for anyone wishing to understand Afghanistan.
Tim and Popie Stafford
May 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
A really interesting and worthwhile book. The Taliban has deep roots, centuries deep, in India and Saudi Arabia as well as Afghanistan.
Aug 24, 2012 rated it liked it
No, this is not a book about how Muslims are crazed Christian killers; rather, it is a historical look into the formation of the Taliban. Although dry and plodding at times, it is very informative.
Frank Cardenas
An interesting insight into the origins of Jihad and the different ideas behind Islam, a must if you want to understand the early beginnings of a widespread religion.
Zaeem Arshad
rated it really liked it
Sep 24, 2015
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Sep 12, 2011
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Jan 27, 2015
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Mar 05, 2012
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Nov 15, 2017
Noel Hourican
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Apr 17, 2013
Ian Rayner
rated it it was amazing
Jan 20, 2018
John Jason Fallows
rated it really liked it
Aug 29, 2014
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Charles Allen (born 1940) is a British writer and historian. He was born in India, where several generations of his family served under the British Raj. His work focuses on India and South Asia in general. Allen's most notable work is Kipling Sahib, a biography of Rudyard Kipling. His most recent work, Ashoka: the Search for India's Lost Emperor, was published in February 2012.

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