Beneath the histories of religious traditions - from biblical wars to crusading ventures and great acts of martyrdom - violence has lurked as a shadowy presence. Images of death have never been far from the heart of religion's power to stir the imagination. In this book, Mark Juergensmeyer asks one of the most important and perplexing questions of our age: Why do religious people commit violent acts in the name of their god, taking the lives of innocent victims and terrorizing entire populations?;This comparative study of religious terrorism explores incidents such as the World Trade Centre explosion, Hamas suicide bombings, the Tokyo subway nerve gas attack, and the killing of abortion clinic doctors in the United States. Incorporating personal interviews with World Trade Centre bomber Mahmud Abouhalima, Christian Right activist Mike Bray, Hamas leaders Sheik Yassin and Abdul Azis Rantisi, and Sikh political leader Simranjit Singh Mann, among others, Juergensmeyer takes us into the mindset of those who perpetrate and support violent acts.
In the process, he aims to help us understand why these acts are often associated with religious causes and why they occur with such frequency a
Mark Juergensmeyer is Professor of Sociology and Director of Global and International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the winner of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for 2003 in the religion category and the author of The New Cold War? Religious Nationalism Confronts the Secular State (California, 1993), and Gandhi's Way: A Handbook of Conflict Resolution (California, 2002), and editor of Global Religions: An Introduction (2003).