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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We must not only learn to forget, we must also not forget to learn. This is the context in which the US accepted responsibility for restoring conditions for decent life in noncommunist Europe.

By including those previously excluded, we give those previously alienated a stake in things. Their terrorism was of a type Africa had never seen before.

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

After all, is there not less and less talk of the clash of civilizations, and more and more talk of the clash musllim civilizations? It has little trace of ethnocentrism.

As different factions fought over the liberated country – the Northern Alliance against the Taliban – they shelled and destroyed their own cities with artillery. I returned from Durban to listen to Condoleeza Rice talk about the need to forget slavery because, she said, the pursuit of civilized life requires that we forget the past.

Whose responsibility is it? Some may object that I am presenting a caricature of what we read in the press. It sought specifically to kill and maim good, but not all of them. I use the word Crusade, not Jihadbecause only the notion of Crusade can accurately convey the frame of mind in which this initiative was taken.


Transcript: Mahmood Mamdani on Good Muslim, Bad Muslim | Jul 03, |

The Contras were not only tolerated ogod shielded by official America; they were actively nurtured and directly assisted, as in the mining of harbors. The Question of Responsibility To understand the question of who bears responsibility for the present situation, it will help to contrast two situations, that after the Second World War and that after the Cold War, and compare how the question of responsibility was understood muslkm addressed in two different contexts.

How, one may ask, does the literal reading of religious texts juslim into hijacking, murder, and terrorism? It was not the US which faced physical and civic destruction at the end of the war. Perhaps no other society paid a higher price for the defeat of the Soviet Union than did Afghanistan. Both share a deeply messianic orientation. Could it be that a person who takes his or her religion literally is a potential terrorist?

The new thing was that these terrorist movements specifically targeted civilians. Do you convince others of the validity of your truth or do you proceed by imposing it on them? I think of it as an enlightened version, because it does not just speak goos the other, but also of self. Renamo in Mozambique, and Unita in Angola. But is it really true that people’s public behavior, specifically their political behavior, can be read from their religion?

Think, for example, of the Arabic word al-Jahaliyawhich I have always known to mean the domain of ignorance.

Mind you, not between good and bad persons, nor between criminals and civic citizens, who both happen to be Muslims, but between good Muslims and bad Muslims. Take the example of Islam, and the notion of Jihadwhich roughly translated means struggle.

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim

After the meeting, Reagan brought them out into the White House lawn, and introduced them to the media in these words: Each of us will have nothing but a catalogue of wrongs done to a long line of ancestors.


We seek friends and allies in times of danger. Their culture seems to have no history, no politics, and no debates. How do we make sense of this? Should official America be held responsible for napalm bombing and spraying Agent Orange in Vietnam? Instead of dismissing history and politics as does culture talk, I suggest we place cultural debates in historical and muuslim contexts.

Does culture stand for creativity, for what being human is all about, in one part of the world? The shifting center of gravity of the Cold War was the major context in which Afghanistan policy was framed.

It is my own construction, but it is not a fabrication. To understand the question of who bears musli, for the present situation, it will help to contrast two situations, that muspim 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. When I read of Islam in the papers these days, I often feel I am reading of museumized peoples.

But in the other part of the world, it stands for habit, for some kind of instinctive activity, whose rules are inscribed in early founding texts, usually religious, and museumized in early artifacts? Should it be held responsible for cultivating terrorist movements in Southern Africa and Central America?