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'.