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Jihad, Radicalism, and the New Atheism


  • Date Published: December 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108432757

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About the Authors
  • Is Islam fundamentally violent? For influential New Atheists such as Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Richard Dawkins, the answer is an emphatic yes, largely because of the Islamic doctrine of jihad. According to this view, when al-Qaeda plotted 9/11 or ISIS planned any one of its recent terrorist attacks, they were acting in accord with Islamic scripture. Jihad, Radicalism, and the New Atheism scrutinizes this claim by comparing the conflicting interpretations of jihad offered by mainstream Muslim scholars, violent Muslim radicals, and New Atheists. Mohammad Hassan Khalil considers contemporary Muslim terrorism to be a grave problem that we must now confront. He shows, however, that the explanations offered for this phenomenon by the New Atheists are highly problematic, and that their own interpretations of the role of violence in Islam exceed those of even radicals such as Osama bin Laden. In showing all of this, Khalil offers critical insights on a most pressing issue.

    • Offers new analyses of bin Laden's justifications for 9/11 and ISIS's justifications for its brutal tactics - and the responses to these justifications given by 'mainstream' scholars of Islam, which involves an examination of medieval and modern Islamic legal traditions
    • It will appeal to scholars of religion, political scientists, international relations scholars, scholars of radicalism, philosophers, ethicists, historians, sociologists, and many in the general public
    • This book offers new analyses of New Atheist discourse, paying special attention to the writings of Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett on the topic of jihad and radicalism
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Mohammad Khalil's critique of the 'new atheists' is compelling, rational, and hard-hitting without veering into polemics. The result is a highly lucid, carefully argued and engaging book on a very timely topic that has been begging for such a level-headed, scholarly treatment.' Asma Afsaruddin, Indiana University

    '… [N]o work has to this point looked at jihadist discourses on war and New Atheist discourses on Islam together as a shared narrative around what it means to be genuinely motivated by religion in modern Islam. Mohammad Khalil's book does just that, and it should be required reading for anyone looking for a way out of the Manicheanism of both jihadism and certain kinds of anti-religious discourse.' Andrew F. March, Law and Social Change Fellow, Islamic Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School, Massachusetts

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108432757
    • length: 202 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 152 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.31kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Jihad:
    1. War and peace in the foundational texts of Islam
    2. Jihad in Islamic law
    Part II. Violent Radicalism: Bin Laden, 9/11, and ISIS:
    3. 'So we kill their innocents': Bin Laden and 9/11
    4. 'Our hearts bleed':
    9/11 and contemporary Muslim thought
    5. 'We will take revenge': a word on ISIS
    Part III. The New Atheism:
    6. 'We are at war with Islam': the case of Sam Harris
    7. 'It Is about Islam': the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    8. 'Imagine a world with no religion': a word on Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett.

  • Author

    Mohammad Hassan Khalil, Michigan State University
    Mohammad Hassan Khalil is Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Adjunct Professor of Law, and Director of the Muslim Studies Program at Michigan State University. He is the author of Islam and the Fate of Others: The Salvation Question (2012) and editor of Between Heaven and Hell: Islam, Salvation, and the Fate of Others (2013). In 2015 he received the Michigan State University Teacher-Scholar Award.

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