Talking to the Enemy: Religion, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists

Talking to the Enemy: Religion, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists

by Scott Atran
Pub. Date:
HarperCollins Publishers
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Talking to the Enemy: Religion, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists

Terrorists don't kill and die just for a cause.

They kill and die for each other.

In this rigorous and challenging work that combines the penetrating insight of The Looming Tower and the historical sweep and scope of Guns, Germs, and Steel, renowned social scientist Scott Atran traces terrorism's root causes in human evolution and history, touching on the nature of faith, the origins of society, the limits of reason, and the power of moral values.

Atran interviews and investigates Al Qaeda associates and acolytes, including Jemaah Islamiyah, Lashkar-e-Tayibah, and the Madrid train bombers, as well as other non-Qaeda groups, such as Hamas and the Taliban, and their sponsoring communities, from the jungles of Southeast Asia and the political wastelands of the Middle East to New York, London, and Madrid. His conclusions are startling, important, and sure to be controversial.

Terrorists, he reminds us, are social beings, influenced by social connections and values familiar to us all, as members of school clubs, sports teams, or community organizations. When notions of the homeland, a family of friends, and a band of brothers are combined with the zeal of belief, amazing things—both good and bad—are possible: the passage of civil rights legislation, the U.S. Olympic hockey team's victory in 1980, the destruction of 9/11 and the attacks on the London Underground in July 2005.

Atran corrects misconceptions about suicide bombers and radical Islam, explaining how our tolerance for faith enables extremists to flourish, and shows why atheism and science education have little effect. Going beyond analysis, he offers practical solutions that can help us identify terrorists today, prevent the creation of future terrorists, and ultimately make the world a safer place for everyone.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900061344915
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/29/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 576
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Part I The Cause

1 Sulawesi: An Anthropologist at Work 3

2 To Be Human: What Is It? 24

3 The Moors of Mezuak 45

Part II The Religious Rise of Civilizations

4 Creation of the Western World 61

5 Submission: Islam 77

6 The Tides of Terror 91

7 A Parallel Universe: The 9/11 Hamburg Group and the Three Waves of Jihad 105

Part III Whither Al Qaeda? Bali and Madrid

8 Farhin's Way 119

9 The Road to Bali: "For All You Christian Infidels!" 135

10 The JI Social Club 155

11 The Great Train Bombing: Madrid, March 11, 2004 168

12 Looking for Al Qaeda 195

13 The Ordinariness of Terror 211

Part IV The Wild East

14 Prying into Pakistan 227

15 A Question of Honor: Why the Taliban Fight and What to Do About It 241

16 The Terror Scare: Exaggerating Threats at Home and Abroad 266

Part V War Parties-Groups, God, and Glory

17 All in the Family: Imagined Kin, Friendship, and Teamwork 295

18 Blood Sport: War Makes Men Men 318

19 Beyond All Reason: The Clausewitz Delusion 332

Part VI "The Mother of All Problems"- Palestine, The World's Symbolic Knot

20 Martyrdom 101 351

21 Words to End Wars: The Science of the Sacred 373

Part VII The Divine Dream and the Collapse of Cultures

22 Bad Faith: The New Atheist Salvation 405

23 Human Rites: Natural Origins and Evolution of Religion 428

24 Our Religious World 457

Epilogue: Abe's Answer-The Question of Politics 479

Notes 491

Index 535

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