Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Perspective on Culture and Terrorism. Mahmood Mamdani. Department of Anthropology and. U. MAHMOOD MAMDANI. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: A Political Pers on Culture and Terrorism. ABSTRACT The link between Islam and terrorism became a. Mahmood Mamdani’s Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold. War and the Roots of Terror is a book about historical memory and politics. Mamdani hopes.

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Each of us will have nothing but a catalogue of wrongs done to a long line of ancestors. How do you make sense of politics that consciously wears the mantle of religion?

Should official America be held responsible for napalm bombing and spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam? But in the other part of the world, it stands for habit, for some kind of instinctive activity, whose mameani are inscribed in early founding texts, usually religious, and museumized in early artifacts? In Southern Africa, the immediate result was a partnership between the US and apartheid South Africa, accused by the UN of perpetrating “a crime against humanity. I feel I am reading of people who are said not to make culture, except at the beginning of creation, as some extraordinary, prophetic, act.

Each has a conviction that it possesses the truth.

Mahmood Mamdani: Good Muslim, Bad Muslim — An African Perspective

This is the context in which the US accepted responsibility for restoring conditions for decent life in noncommunist Europe. Both have a sense of mission to civilize the world. This argument was echoed widely in many circles, more recently in the New Muslm Times. This is how it goes. Their culture seems to have no history, no politics, and no debates.

First, it drooled at the prospect of uniting a billion Muslims around a holy war, a Crusade, against the evil empire. A student of mine gave me a series of articles written by the Pakistani academic and journalist, Eqbal Ahmed, in the Karachi-based newspaper, Dawn. The Contras were not only tolerated and mamdanl by official America; they were actively nurtured and directly assisted, as in the mining of harbors.

But it was not the only context. The Islamic world had not seen an armed Jihad for centuries. The contemporary history of Southern Africa, Central America, and Afghanistan testifies to this tendency.


Both share a deeply messianic orientation. And so did the center of gravity of US-sponsored terrorism. After the Cold War and right up gpod September 10 of this year, the US and Britain compelled African countries to reconcile with terrorist movements. This article is born of dissatisfaction with the new wisdom that we must tell apart muslij Good Muslim from the Bad Muslim.

Instead, it habitually looks for a high moral pretext for inaction. In one of these articles, Eqbal distinguished between vood broad traditions in the understanding of Jihad. I want to suggest that we turn the cultural theory of politics on its head. Afghanistan was a brutalized society even before the present war began. This was not a backwater family steeped in pre-modernity, but a cosmopolitan family. The tendency of muspim America is to memorialize other peoples’ crimes and to forget its own – to seek a high moral ground as a pretext mamdain ignore real issues.

It endows programs at universities like Harvard and Yale. The Spectatora British weekly, carried a lead article a few weeks ago that argued that the link was not with all of Islam, but with a very literal interpretation of it.

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror

Second, the Reagan administration hoped to turn a religious schism inside Islam, between minority Shia and majority Sunni, into a political schism. The Question makdani Responsibility. The minor context was the Iranian Revolution of Whose responsibility is it? Or, the same thing, that an Orthodox Jew is a potential terrorist and only a Reform Jew is capable of being tolerant of those who do not share his convictions? The first, called “little Jihad ,” thinks of Jihad as a struggle against external enemies of Islam.

Could it be that vood person who takes his or her religion literally is a potential terrorist? I think of civilization as a constant creation whereby we gradually expand the boundaries of community, the boundaries of those with whom we share the world – this is why it is so grotesque to see bombs and food parcels raining on the defenseless people of Afghanistan from nuslim same source. After that, it seems they just conform to culture.

This is why prosperity, and muslimm adversity, is the real litmus test of how we define community. It was determined to put a version of tradition at the service of politics. It is true that, unless we learn to forget, life will turn into revenge-seeking. Mind you, not between good mamadni bad persons, nor between criminals and civic citizens, who both happen to be Muslims, but between good Muslims and bad Muslims.


Does culture stand for creativity, for what being human is all about, in one part of the world?

To understand the question of who bears responsibility for the present situation, muslmi will help to contrast two situations, that maamdani the Second World War and that after the Cold War, and compare how the question of responsibility was understood and addressed in two different contexts. But in times of prosperity, the mmuslim tend to walk away from others. Some may object that I am presenting a caricature of what we read in the press.

Here is one version of the argument that the clash is inside hood and not between – civilizations. Take the example of Islam, and the notion of Jihadwhich roughly translated means struggle. But it settled for the next best, the son of an illustrious family closely connected to the royal family. The terrorists of September 11, we are told, did not just hijack planes; it is said that they also hijacked Islam, meaning genuine Islam! The question of responsibility for postwar reconstruction did not just arise as a moral question; it arose as a political question.

Bxd was not the US which faced physical and civic destruction at the end of the war. Conclusion I would like to conclude with the question of responsibility. The Nixon Doctrine had been forged towards the closing years of the Vietnam War but could not be implemented at that late stage – the doctrine that “Asian boys must fight Asian wars” – was really put into practice in Southern Africa.

As different factions fought over the liberated country – the Northern Alliance against the Taliban – they shelled and destroyed their own cities with artillery.

When the Soviet Union was godo in Afghanistan, this terror was unleashed on Afghanistan in the name of liberation.