Radical Sheik

Charles Kurzman

in The Missing Martyrs

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199766871
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897414 | DOI:
Radical Sheik

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Yasmin, in Cairo, heard about the attacks of 9/11 and felt fleeting satisfaction at the idea of America receiving its comeuppance. Zuhra, in Islamabad, considered Bin Laden larger than life. Murat, in Istanbul, blamed America for the attacks. “How could a person in a cave in Afghanistan have planned such an attack as 9/11?” These views are evidence of “radical sheik”—a play on Tom Wolfe's phrase “radical chic,” expressions of sympathy for revolutionaries as anti-establishment heroes—without actually wanting these movements to succeed. This sort of symbolic endorsement does not translate into support for revolutionary goals or potential collaboration with terrorism.

Keywords: terror; terrorist; terrorism; Islam; Islamic; Islamist; Muslim; radical chic; radical sheik; al-Qaida; Bin Laden

Chapter.  11439 words. 

Subjects: Islam

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