In this thoughtful and authoritative book, Malise Ruthven provides an analysis of the terrible events of September 11 in New York and Washington. He discusses the role of the global market, the mystique of the twin towers and of New York and examines the tangled web of grievances, especially in the Middle East, that form the substance of the bombers' complaints against Western modernity. Ruthven traces the motivations of the men who flew the planes and killed so many thousands of innocent people, to their roots in certain currents of Islamic thought. He looks in detail at the work of the influential "fundamentalist" visionaries who have embraced a purist version of the Muslim faith, that is, in fact, very modern in its embrace of technology and rejection of tolerance. In particular, Ruthven gives a chilling insight into the mind of the man said to be the lead hijacker, Mohammed Atta. Malise Ruthven does not shrink from criticizing Western, particularly US policy for contributing to the instability that offers fertile ground to such spectacular terrorism. He examines the conduct of war in Afghanistan up to the end of 2001.
His book, while it offers little to comfort the reader, does offer same guidelines for the future.
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