"Perhaps more than any other, this book gives the background necessary to understand the purpose and mindset of today's religious radicals.
In this classic study of the roots of Islamic extremism, Gilles Kepel demonstrates the pivotal role of the Egyptian connection. He skillfully traces the story of Islamic anti-modernism in Egypt from the early part of the 20th century to its tragic involvement in some of the most violent incidents in recent years, including the terrifying attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993 and 2001. Kepel's treatment is even-handed and sensitive, though the world he uncovers is the dark side of today's global culture."Mark Juergensmeyer, author of Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence
Within the past decade, a wave of religious fundamentalism has surged through the Islamic world. With the assassination of President Anwar Sadat as a focal point, Kepel examines the ideologies and activities of several Egyptian fundamentalist groups over 30 years. He describes the small but devoted religious groups determined to replace their barbaric regime with a government devoted to the true principles of Islam. The fervor of the Islamic revolutionaries, however, was equalled by their political naivete, and their success in killing Egypt's president led only to arrests and continued powerlessness. Although sympathetic to their religious concerns, Kepel asserts that most of the zealots were motivated more by the hopelessness and poverty of Egyptian life than by a desire to replace a modernist regime with pure Islam. A reliable, scholarly study of an important phenomenon. Elizabeth R. Hayford, President, Assoc. Colls. of the Midwest, Chicago