In Their Own Words

‘For those who haven’t paid attention to what al-Qaeda’s leadership has been saying, anthologies like this one are instructive because the contents, on the whole, place so little emphasis on explicitly Islamic themes. Much of the material interweaves anti-American and anti-Semitic motifs that have circulated in Europe and the Middle East for over a century, and were further stoked by Nazi and Soviet attempts to extend their influence in the region. Against the background of foreign domination and the rise of Zionism, it’s scarcely surprising that these notions got traction. With the United States having replaced Great Britain as the evil hegemon and Zionism having triumphed, the old anti-colonial critique has kept its appeal. America, in particular, was believed to embody all the faults that German and Soviet propaganda attributed to it: a mongrel culture, self-absorbed, prone to violence, worshiping the almighty buck. And run by the Jews.’

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