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Before Sayyid Qutb became a leading theorist of violent jihad, he was a little-known Egyptian writer sojourning in the United Fundamentaismo, where he attended a small teachers college on the Great Plains.
El Fundamentalismo Islamico/ The Islamic Fundamentalism : Mercedes Saborido :
Greeley, Colorado, circa was the last place one might think to look for signs of American decadence. But the courtly Qutb COO-tub saw things that others did not. He seethed at the brutishness of the people around him: He found the muscular football players appalling and despaired of finding a barber who could give a proper haircut. As for the music: Such grumbling by an unhappy crank would be almost comical but for one fact: Why do they hate us?
Born in in the northern Egyptian village of Musha and raised in a devout Muslim home, Qutb memorized the Koran as a boy. Later he moved to Cairo and found work as a teacher and writer. His novels made no great impression, but he earned a reputation as an astute literary critic. Qutb was among the first champions of Naguib Mahfouz, a young, modern novelist who, inwould win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
As Qutb matured, his mind took on a more political cast. Even by the standards of Egypt, those were chaotic, corrupt times: World War I had completed the destruction of the Ottoman Empire, and the Western powers were creating, with absolute colonial confidence, new maps and governments for the Middle East.
For a vundamentalismo man like Sayyid Qutb, the humiliation of his country at the hands of secular leaders ispamico Western puppets was galling. During a short stay in Washington, D. This became the lens through which Qutb read nearly every American encounter—a clash of New World versus Old. Qutb easily satisfied the requirements at the graduate school of fundmentalismo Colorado State College of Education now known as the University of Northern Colorado and devoted the rest of his time to his true interest—the American soul, if such a thing existed.
What is its worth in the scale of human values? He did not recoil from political freedom and democracy, as, say, President Bush might expect from a jihadi theorist, nor did he complain about shades of imperial ambition in American foreign policy, as writers on the left might suppose. Regarding the excesses of American culture—vulgarity, materialism and promiscuity—Qutb expressed shock, but it rang a bit hollow.
In America, unlike in Egypt, dreams could come true. Qutb understood the danger this islxmico This portrait likely would have surprised the people of mid-century Greeley, had they somehow become aware of the unspoken opinions of their somewhat frosty neighbor. Theirs was a friendly town best known for the unpretentious college and for the cattle feedlots sprawling ilsamico on its outskirts. The founding of Greeley in the s involved no ice fields, hurricanes or serpents.
Instead, it began with a simple newspaper column written by Nathan Meeker, agricultural editor of the New York Tribune.
On December 14,Meeker appealed to literate readers of high moral character to join him in building a utopian community by the South Platte River near the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
More than 3, readers applied; from this list Meeker selected the best qualified to realize his vision of a sober, godly, islamco community. Poet and journalist Sara Lippincott was an early visitor to the frontier outpost, and later wrote about it under her pen name, Grace Greenwood.
A Lesson In Hate | History | Smithsonian
Your host will invite you out to see him irrigate his potato-patch Sayyid Qutb cut short his stay in America and returned to Egypt in after the assassination of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the nationalist, religious and militant movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Over the next decade and a half, often writing from prison, Qutb refined a violent political theology from the raw anti-modernism of his American interlude.
Virtually the entire modern world, Qutb theorized, is jahiliyyathat barbarous state that existed before Muhammad. Only the strict, unchanging law of the prophet can redeem this uncivilized condition.
And Muslim leaders allied with the West were no better than the Crusaders themselves. Therefore, Qutb called all true Muslims to jihad, or Holy War, against jahiliyya —which is to say, against modernity, which America so powerfully represents. Nasser may have silenced a critic, but the martyrdom of Sayyid Qutb accelerated his movement. The same year the philosopher was hanged, according to journalist Lawrence Wright, the teenage al-Zawahiri formed his first violent cell, dedicated to the overthrow of the Egyptian government and the creation of an Islamist state.
After noting the stupidity of his Greeley neighbors, who failed to understand his dry and cutting jokes, Qutb writes: For there was not one instance in which I had a haircut there when I did not return home to even with my own hands what the barber had wrought.
Turning a haircut into a matter of grave moral significance is the work of a fanatic. Hating America for its haircuts cannot be distinguished from hating for no sane reason at all.
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