Buy Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam Revised edition by Gilles Kepel (ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and free delivery. “Gilles Kepel’s landmark book provides an in-depth history and compelling Perhaps the most definitive is Gilles Kepel’s Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam. Jihad. The Trail of Political Islam. Gilles Kepel Fluent in Arabic, Gilles Kepel has traveled throughout the Muslim world gathering documents, interviews, and.

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That idea is deftly countered in this brilliant and provocative book by a leading French specialist on modern Islam. It ran a kind of brigade organisation for volunteers, from the Gulf states, North Africa and polktical, presided over the creation of Afghan factions in need of rials, and endowed the madrassas in Pakistan the seedbeds of the Taliban.

This is dark terrain, encrusted with violence, but Kepel deals with it coldly and carefully. Before long, any number of factional, doctrinal and personal rivalries had been settled in the name of jihad or anti-obscurantism. He is also the best-known commentator on Islamic affairs on French hilles, and he has advised international leaders at the Davos conferences. To purchase short term access, please sign in to your Oxford Academic account above.

Jeremy Harding reviews ‘Jihad’ by Gilles Kepel, translated by Anthony F. Roberts · LRB 25 July

Originally a group of highly contentious zealots, led by a former anti-colonial hero and driven underground by FLN harassment, it had coalesced in as the Armed Islamic Movement.

September 11 gave him a new framework, but he sees that event in a way that will surprise and please many who have lately been trying to comprehend the meaning of Islamic politics… An usual commentator on recent events, Professor Kepel is a messenger carrying good news. Jihad is the first extensive, in-depth attempt to follow the history and geography of this disturbing political-religious phenomenon. Ali Benhadj, the more charismatic of the two FIS leaders — a young firebrand who travelled by moped from one enthralled congregation of hittistes to the next — called for the formation of Algerian volunteer brigades to fight alongside the Iraqis.

Fluent in Arabic, Gilles Kepel has traveled throughout the Muslim world gathering documents, interviews, and archival materials inaccessible to most scholars, in order to give us a comprehensive understanding of the scope of Islamist movements, their past, and their present. At the same time, remittances began to flow back to sender-countries from migrant workers in the Kingdom.


It was said that they were propping up walls. Don’t already have an Oxford Academic account? Under socialism, the joke ran, there is no unemployment. When the earthquake struck in Tipasa, the FIS had only been in existence for about six months. At the time of the earthquake they had already put together a consignment of tents for displaced Muslims in Bosnia.

Not least in Saudi Arabia, where the Holy Places were now seething with unbelievers. That would be a relief. So what went wrong? Join Our Mailing List: There would eventually be demonstrations by radicalised Iranian pilgrims in Mecca.

The FIS was about to be dismantled. Edward Lear is an apt character to think about at Christmas-time.

JIHAD: The Trail of Political Islam

Most of the robust secular ideas that once circulated in the post-colonial Arab states were exhausted by the middle of the Cold War era. The Saudis had spent the last few years, and billions of petrodollars, trying jihhad forestall precisely this kind of challenge. By the time of the riots, an Islamist maquis had been operating for six years.

Girls were off limits, as far as one could tell, gillez there was no sense in those days — before the commercial success of rai music — of any respectable Western-style alternative, such as conspicuous drunkenness, vandalism or the soft-porn poljtical. He had seen off the Americans and now he was inciting Muslims everywhere to rise up against their impious leaders.

Kepel leads us on a breathtaking excursion. He was morosely, unimaginatively anti-Western and, in his later writings, politjcal anti-Christian and anti-Jewish, though as with almost all Islamist radicals, his deepest enmity was reserved for fellow Muslims. The FLN was kepe a sandy furrow Algeria has sand in abundance: But while ideologies that fused Islam with political power gained adherents throughout the world in the ensuing 20 years, says Kepel, in no other country were Islamists able to seize and hold power for more than a few years, a factor that he attributes to the ideology’s inability to attract both the middle class and the poor.


The dedication and dispatch of the Brothers in the wake of johad Cairo earthquake won them an impressive haul of donations the Mubarak Administration duly froze silam bank accounts. Inan earthquake in Tipasa, just west of Algiers, left thousands of people homeless. This involved much shedding of blood. Despite the fact that it won only 15 per cent of the registered vote, the FLN now has over half the seats in the National Assembly. Longing for the Lost Caliphate: Most recently, the Taliban, a kind of non-government installed by Pakistan, would be bombed out of business in Afghanistan.

But as Kepel would be the first to acknowledge, the violence, though less frenzied than it was five years ago, has not gone away; he might well argue, with his usual eloquence, that there is no such thing as a clean ending.

Kepel prefers to take the broad schematic view, ixlam his constant reference, country by country, to the young urban poor and the disenchanted middle class, the wary partners who must dance at the same fire if government according to the will of God is to come politkcal.

In the event, these fhe diverted. In a sense the rest of the story is about how they, and their comrades who remained in Afghanistan, chose to press home their disadvantage. Yet the long isoam of the Wahhabite mission, first against Nasser and his kind, and now against Khomeini, did not have the effect that Riyadh had hoped for. Khomeini had avoided any such foolishness. The first in-depth history of political Islam appropriate for newcomers to Islamic history.

Although Kepel clearly believes in the Western ideal of civil society, he puts himself in the place of ordinary Muslims in the nations he writes about, rather than viewing their problems from a Western perspective. Despite some outpourings of support, he believes, Osama bin Laden and his followers squandered much of the movement’s political capital with its attacks on American institutions, most notably the World Trade Center.

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