Suicide Bombers: Allah's New Martyrs

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Overview

In the West, the suicide bomber has become a familiar image in newspapers and on television. In Palestine, Iraq, Saudia Arabia, Indonesia and elsewhere, the results of suicide bombing have been devastating. What drives young men and women to become suicide bombers? This is not a question that is often addressed.

This remarkable book provides some of the answers and explores how the suicide bomber relates to the concept of the martyr in fundamentalist Islam. Farhad Khosrokhavar contrasts it with the idea of the martyr in Christianity. Most importantly, he offers a clear insight into the different ways in which the concept is viewed within Islam, including divisions within Islamic fundamentalist groups, which change according to the political situation of the country in which they are based.

Drawing on extensive interviews with jailed Islamist militants, Farhad Khosrokhavar examines differing attitudes towards the 'sacred death' in various Islamic countries, including Iran, Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt. He also investigates transnational networks such as al-Qaeda, offering portraits of various prisoners who belong to the group.

Farhad Khosrokhavar distinguishes between two types of martyr: those from the developing world, who are excluded from what modernity has to offer; and the minority who live at the heart of the western world - a mainly middle-class diaspora from the Middle East and the Maghreb who are at ease with several cultural codes, but whose experience of the West is still marked by racism and discrimination.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745322834
  • Publisher: Pluto Press
  • Publication date: 2/14/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Farhad Khosrokhavar is Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has published more than ten books on Iran, Islam and the West. He is currently researching and writing about prisons and religion in France, and he speaks regularly at conferences in the UK.
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Table of Contents

Introduction : two forms of martyrdom 4
1 Islam 11
Jihad : holy war 13
Martyrdom in Islam 20
The difficult secularisation of religion 25
Reinterpretations of martyrdom and Jihad 28
The paradoxical individualisation of religious discourse 52
Martyropathy 58
Death and fear of dying 62
2 The impossible national community 70
Martyrdom in Iran 70
Martyrdom in Palestine 109
Lebanon : between martyrdom and absurdity 141
3 The transnational neo-umma : al-Qaeda's martyrs 149
Diasporic ummas 149
Forms of humiliation 152
A new self-consciousness 153
The world metropolis 158
Organisational forms 161
Different types of actor 174
The new middle-class diaspora 175
The case of Britain 195
The case of America 200
Jihadist families 204
Converts 206
The exclusion of women 217
The new globalised imaginary 219
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