Foxhole Theologians, or The Theory and Practice of Salafi-Jihadism

Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea, by Shiraz Maher. Image: Penguin

Review of Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea by Shiraz Maher, originally published in Progress magazine on June 9th, 2016.

A master terrorist is debating with a subordinate over some point of strategy in their bunker. The sheikh narrows his eyes, and after careful consideration remarks: ‘I agree it works in practice. But does it work in theory?’

This retelling of an old joke about academia must bear some resemblance to the intellectual life of an al-Qaeda fanatic, given the insights offered by Shiraz Maher’s new book, Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea.

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