Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Zealots: Religious and Atheist

Again looking back...

Have a look at Jonathan Raban's wonderful 2002 piece in the New Yorker: "My Holy War".

It's a good reminder of just how modern contemporary jihadism is. Just one example that Raban points out is that Fathi Shiqaqi, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who was assassinated in 1995, is on record as having been a T. S. Eliot fan. As Raban points out,

it's not hard to see how Eliot's characteristic preoccupations could chime with those of the decline-of-the-West jihadis. It would appall Eliot, the Anglo-Catholic churchwarden, to hear it, but his vision of a society collapsing into spiritual ruin is very close to what Qutb tries to conjure in his depiction of jahiliyyah. The moral indictment of the West, central to the Islamist case, has impeccable Western credentials.

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