John Keay

The Shoots Of Fanaticism

God’s Terrorists: The Wahhabi Cult and the Roots of Modern Jihad

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Little, Brown 297pp £20 order from our bookshop

A word seldom heard these days, though well worth an airing, is ‘crescentade’. Analogous to ‘crusade’ and perhaps derived from the more appetising croissantade, (croissant being the French for ‘crescent’), a crescentade strictly speaking signifies an Islamic holy war. But nineteenth-century commentators applied the word indiscriminately to any outburst of Muslim aggression whose theological motivation eluded them. The term was often somewhat dismissive; and it might now be usefully revived by anyone reluctant to dignify with the Quranic sanction of jihad the casual dismemberment, say, of mothers and infants, often themselves Muslim. 


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