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Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State, from Christian Militias to al Qaeda

Mark Juergensmeyer
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Global Rebellion
    Book Description:

    Why has the turn of the twenty-first century been rocked by a new religious rebellion? From al Qaeda to Christian militias to insurgents in Iraq, a strident new religious activism has seized the imaginations of political rebels around the world. Building on his groundbreaking book,The New Cold War?: Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State,Mark Juergensmeyer here provides an up-to-date road map through this complex new religious terrain. Basing his discussion on interviews with militant activists and case studies of rebellious movements, Juergensmeyer puts a human face on conflicts that have become increasingly abstract. He revises our notions of religious revolution and offers positive proposals for responding to religious activism in ways that will diminish the violence and lead to an accommodation between radical religion and the secular world.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93476-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: The Rise of Religious Rebellion
    (pp. 1-8)

    “Islam is under attack,” a mullah in Baghdad told me in 2004, the year after the American military forces invaded and occupied his country. He was responding to a question about why the resistance to the American military occupation of Iraq had become so stridently religious. In his reckoning, the United States had imposed its presence in the region not only to liberate Iraq from a dictator but also to establish an American-style secular political regime, and the Iraqis were responding in kind.¹

    “You Americans will not succeed,” he went on to tell me, “for Islam will prevail.” What was...

  5. CHAPTER 1 The Religious Challenge to the Secular State
    (pp. 9-38)

    One of the more puzzling features of thefatwehin which Osama bin Laden proclaimed war on the American and European West in 1996 was his comparison of Western presence in the Middle East with the Crusades and colonialism. This may have surprised many Westerners who were not used to hearing issues of international relations expressed in cultural terms—especially not in images derived from the Middle Ages and the colonial era. Most Americans and Europeans thought that this kind of cultural oppression was buried in the unhappy past.

    To many in the non-Western world, however, these images aptly characterized...

  6. CHAPTER 2 The Front Line of Religious Rebellion: The Middle East
    (pp. 39-83)

    Religious rebellion has been around for a long time. Although the religious rebellions of the last two decades of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first have been shaped by modern politics, they inherit a long tradition of religious protest and social change. Religious and political ideas have been intertwined throughout history and around the globe, and a number of rebellions against authority, from the Maccabean revolt in ancient Israel to the Taiping Rebellion in China, the Wahhabiya movement in Arabia, and Puritanism in England, have been religious in character. Some of these, like the movements to be...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Political Targets of Rebellion: South, Central, and Southeast Asia
    (pp. 84-150)

    The specter of Buddhist monks breaking up a peace rally in the capital of Sri Lanka and angry Hindu sadhus destroying a mosque in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya indicates the passion of religious activism in the region. But Asia is also a region in which Islamic political parties and Hindu nationalist movements have peacefully come to power. Perhaps more so than in the Middle East, religious activists in South, Central, and Southeast Asian have employed a great variety of strategies for change. Their targets have been at times traditional political parties, at other times the political process itself,...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Post–Cold War Rebels: Europe, East Asia, and the United States
    (pp. 151-192)

    When the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was destroyed by a truck bomb on April 19, 1995, the assumption of many observers was that the act must have been instigated by the same Muslim activists who had attacked the World Trade Center in 1993. The perpetrators, however, turned out to be Christian terrorists. Timothy McVeigh, like other members of the loose network of activists on the extreme Christian right in the United States, saw the U.S. government as the enemy of religion in almost the same way as did the Muslim activists in global jihadi networks.


  9. CHAPTER 5 Transnational Networks: Global Jihad
    (pp. 193-211)

    When a truck bomb was detonated under the World Trade Center in New York City on February 26, 1993, most Americans were puzzled but not deeply alarmed. Unlike the catastrophic attacks some eight years later on September 11, 2001, only six people were killed (more than a thousand, however, were injured). Although the blast in a subbasement of the taller of the complex’s two towers created a great deal of smoke and confusion, the offices in the buildings were back in operation within a few hours. Moreover, it was not clear why someone would want to do such a thing....

  10. CHAPTER 6 The Enduring Problems of Violence, Democracy, and Human Rights
    (pp. 212-243)

    One of the reasons why religious politics appear problematic is that in the long run they may lead to regimes like the Taliban that are repressive, undemocratic, and dismissive of human rights. In the short run, however, the concern is over terrorism and security: the possibility that religious rebels will use violence to convey their message and advance their goals.

    Rebellions of any kind are often violent, so it is not surprising that religious rebellions are violent as well. Yet the ferocity of some of the acts of violence associated with religious activism is jarring: they seem more extreme than...

  11. CONCLUSION: Religious Rebellion and Global War
    (pp. 244-263)

    Religious challenges to secular politics in the last decades of the twentieth century had, by the beginning of the twenty-first, all the appearances of a global rebellion. The confrontation developed in stages, and at each stage the escalation of hostility was due both to the belligerence of new religious activists and to the obstinacy of their secular opponents. What once had seemed simply an anomaly or an annoyance to many secular leaders increasingly came to be seen as a global foe.

    The first stage of the encounter was marked by isolated outbursts. It began in the 1970s with a variety...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 264-313)
  13. List of Interviews
    (pp. 314-320)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 321-356)
  15. Index
    (pp. 357-370)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 371-371)