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In this brilliant look at the rise of political Islam, the distinguished political scientist and anthropologist Mahmood Mamdani dispels the notion of ‘good’ (secular and Westernized) Muslims as against ‘bad’ (premodern, fanatic) Muslims. He argues that such judgements emerge out of politics rather than from cultural or religious identity. Mamdani shows how political Islam emerged from a modern encounter with Western power, and how the terrorist movement within it arose out of the USA’s post-Vietnam proxy wars. His analysis ranges from the 1960s to the Reaganite–Thatcherite 1970s, when a simplistic ideological politics of ‘good versus evil’ began to be espoused. It culminates by looking in detail at the ‘global’ war against terror being waged in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim possesses a huge civilizational sweep which profoundly alters official understandings of Islamist politics that the US state propagates. It is more broadly a radical and necessary corrective to the way in which Islam is being projected by conservative forces in contemporary times.