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Al Qaeda: Casting a Shadow of Terror.

By Jason Burke published by IB TAURIS ISBN 1.85043 396 8 price 18.95 [pounds sterling] hardback

Al Qaeda is now the most over-used and misunderstood word in the media--a term imposed on a wide variety of Islamist groups by the FBI in the early 1990s. But what is Al Qaeda? Is it a disciplined, motivated, structured terrorist organisation led by a single criminal mastermind or something far more complex, diffused and sinister? Burke shows how the threat from Islamic terrorism comes not from one man, or even one group but from a broad movement with profound roots in the politics, societies and history of the Islamic world. Working from hundreds of interviews and thousands of documents, he demonstrates that 'Al Qaeda' is a convenient label applied misleadingly to a giant, diverse and disorganised global movement dedicated to fighting a cosmic battle with the West, and that Osama bin Laden, far from being the world's most dangerous criminal, is a peripheral figure in modem Islamic militancy. This new book, is a definitive account on the matter--revolutionising our understanding of Al Qaeda, retelling its story from scratch and critically exploding myths that threaten the very foundation of the 'War on Terror'.
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Author:Rhodes, Fred
Publication:The Middle East
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Aug 1, 2003
Words:201
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