Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy New
$14.99
Qty:1
  • List Price: $22.00
  • Save: $7.01 (32%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 10 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror Paperback – March 14, 2007


See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$14.99
$13.61 $5.00


Frequently Bought Together

Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror + The Middle East
Price for both: $82.40

Buy the selected items together
  • The Middle East $67.41

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300122578
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300122572
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Yale historian Habeck takes Muslim terrorists at their word. They aren't envious of liberal democracy or the consumer society. Religion drives them--specifically, an exclusivist, triumphalist vision of Islam that Habeck calls jihadism to point up its holy-war-like character rather than its orthodoxy. The latter is problematic, for while jihadism is based on universally accepted Muslim principles and traditions, what it has forged out of them is highly controversial, not least because jihadists consider Muslims who disagree with them to be unbelievers as worthy of destruction as non-Muslims. Habeck traces the current of Islamic thought that eventuated in jihadism from an early-fourteenth-century scholar and the eighteenth-century founder of the harshly restrictive Islam predominant in Saudi Arabia to four twentieth--century figures who inspired a host of radical reactionary organizations, including Hamas and al-Qaeda. Habeck repeatedly reminds us that jihadists constitute a small minority, but she doesn't expound moderate Islam, much less Christianity or Judaism, to answer or refute jihadism. Her purpose is to reveal jihadism. So doing, in considerable detail and with admirable clarity, she contributes one of the most valuable books on the ongoing Middle East--and world--crisis. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"In considerable detail and with admirable clarity, [Habeck] contributes one of the most valuable books on the ongoing Middle East---and world---crisis." ---Booklist Starred Review --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Mary Habeck's explanation of the mind set of the increasingly violent jihadists is scholarly while also very readable.
Sonya E. Grabowski
If you want to understand how the Jihadists think, make decisions, treat other Muslims and believe, read this book before all others.
Montanero
This book should be mandatory reading in every high school and college history department teaching middle eastern history.
Robert Shaines

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Ralph White on March 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As much as this book is about knowing the enemy, it is as much about knowing who isn't the enemy. If you came away from any of your previous readings with feelings of intolerance for Muslims in general, then Mary Habeck's arguments will appeal to you. As an Associate Professor at John's Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Habeck's ultimate focus is public policy and statecraft. For her the term "war on terror" fails to sufficiently describe our objectives. She prefers "war on jihadism" or "war on the khawarij." The Khawarij were a group which tried, unsuccessfully following the death of Muhammad, to hijack Islam and declare war on mainstream Muslims. The similarity between the khawarij and modern jihadis has already been commented on by Muslim scholars, to the irritation of the jihadis. This approach will also illuminate for mainstream Muslims that the U. S. and the other Western democracies are natural allies in saving their religion from its fanatics. But renaming the battle won't win it. Spreading democracy throughout the Islamic world, and defusing the Palestinian crisis are the principal prescriptions for defusing jihadism. The U. S. cannot go it alone, however, so we have to improve our diplomacy and better engage other democracies to support us in defeating jihadism.

The world of the jihadist is a very strange one, and Habeck instructs us without condescension or wonkism, and with a minimum of Arabic vocabulary. We learn, for instance, that it is intuitive to jihadists that the victory of the Afgan mujahidun "working entirely on their own" against Russian occupation caused the downfall of the Soviet Union. They believed that the United States would similarly collapse following 9/11.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Archmaker VINE VOICE on February 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Perhaps it wasn't inevitable that we would have to confront the radical idealogical jihadism that led to our being struck on 9/11, but funded by petrodollars and ignored by us for decades, this virulent form of fundamentalism has taken root and thrived and what might have been a lunatic sect out in the desert wastelands of Arabia is now a worldwide movement and our meeting it head on is no longer a question. It is necessary, therefore, to understand what these people believe, and Mary Habeck's thoroughly researched and annotated book will be helpful to you.

She begins her book with a simple proposition. Instead of theorizing why the jihadists are at war with us, with explanations that include social and economic deprivation, US foreign policy, the Arab/Israeli conflict and so on, she posits instead that we ought to learn what the jihadis themselves have to say on the subject. What do THEY think justifies their jihad?What support for their views do they find in the Qur'an and traditional Islam?

The answers she discovers are going to be an eye opener to many in the West employing the conventional wisdom espoused above.

First, this radical jihadism goes back 8 centuries to earlier fundamentalist thinkers who believed even back then that the followers of Islam had strayed from the righteous path and purification was in order. This thinking espoused initally by Ibn Taymiyya and then later Wahhab was picked up by the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1920's and in the following decades by others to the present with Bin Laden, Zawahiri and Zarqawi. Violent jihadism pre-dates the founding of Israel and the US ever setting foot in the Middle East.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. Snodgrass on May 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As a former military intelligence officer who spent years reading a mountain of books by and about Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, Debray, et al, in order to understand how the enemy thought, I truly appreciate the work of Mary Habeck distilling the jihadist ideology into 243 pages. Having lived and worked daily with Muslims in Pakistan for more than a year and having read many books on Islam, I never found a single, satisfactory source on the subject of jihad that provided a concise historical prospective until I read "Knowing the Enemy." There's currently almost an unlimited number of books on the subjects of Islam and jihad, but Mary Habeck has condensed the essentials into one small volume that is brutally factual about the dark side of Islam without being inflammatory. This book should be a required high school and college history/political science text in the U.S. and Europe. I heartily recommend it to anyone who cares about the future of Western Civilization.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful By R. Huddleston on December 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Mary Habeck's Knowing the Enemy is an extensive survey of contemporary jihadi literature as well as an account of its historical roots in the theology of Ibn Taymiyya and Muhammad ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab. This book is illuminating on several levels; at the same time, it is difficult to read dispassionately. Many of the ideas presented here in the jihadis' own words are simply so delusional and outrageous that it is hard for a reader who does not share their presuppositions to take them seriously. But they are deadly serious, and we should be listening, which is Habeck's premise. Habeck serves her material well, telling it straight and letting the bizarre logic of jihadi thought indict itself.

Not just the political ambitions but the fundamentally political nature of radical Islam is made clear, even if its sense of political reality comes across as visibly demented. The jihadis are obsessed with acquiring the means of violence and the authority to institute Shari'a (Islamic law) through state power, but beyond that they are not particularily interested in statecraft or governance. "Jihadis in general," Habeck writes, "are not commited to any particular country, territory or part of the earth for their hijra or state." One quasi-comic moment occurs when Habeck quotes Siddiqi, an Islamist who shares Sayyid Qutb's dream of setting up a perfect Islamic state. (One of the puzzles resolved here, by the way, is how jihadi groups like the Taliban envisioned the pseudo-state they created in Afganistan as an Islamic paradise that would inspire emulation and envy throughout the world.) Siddiqi believed that "parts of America could even become Islamic territory....
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?