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Reading: Lying with the Enemy: Militant Islam in the Global Arena


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Lying with the Enemy: Militant Islam in the Global Arena


Faisal Devji

New School for Social Research
About Faisal
Faisal Devji is Assistant Professor of History at the New School for Social Research in New York. He is the author of Landscapes of the Jihad (Cornell, 2005) and The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics (Columbia, 2008). Devji is interested in the political though of modern Islam as well as the transformation of liberal categories and democratic practice in South Asia, particularly as they relate to ethics and violence in a globalized world.
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Osama bin Laden’s rhetoric has consistently voiced a desire for global equality between Muslims and Christians, or between the Islamic world and the West. Having accused America of hypocrisy as far as its advancement of this equality is concerned, Bin Laden turns his attention to the only form in which he thinks such equality is now possible: the equality of death. This is why he has repeatedly emphasized the need for an equivalence of terror between the Muslim world and America, as if this were the only form in which the two might come together and even communicate one with the other. For Al-Qaeda, terror is the only form in which global freedom and equality are now available. Terror therefore functions as the dark side of America’s own democracy, as inseparable from it as an evil twin. So in the aftermath of the 2005 Madrid bombings, Bin Laden issued a statement in which he defined terrorism as an effort to universalize security as a human right, if only by refusing to accept its monopolization by the West. For equality demanded that security should be enjoyed by all or by none.
How to Cite: Devji, F., 2009. Lying with the Enemy: Militant Islam in the Global Arena. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 16(2), pp.68–71. DOI:
Published on 01 Apr 2009.
Peer Reviewed


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