"Written well and engagingly for a popular audience...thoughtful [and] detailed.... [An] excellent illustration of the beneficent side of the multiculturalism that has swept academia in the last couple of decades." - Jonathan Groner, Washington Post Book World "An unsettling book but also a courageous one. No one who truly cares about matters of faith can afford to ignore the dangers that lurk within religious extremism, and Juergensmeyer is ultimately serving the highest aspirations of organized religion when he insists on shedding light on the darker corners of human belief and human conduct." - Jonathan Kitsch, Los Angeles Times "This dark, enthralling book not only documents the global rise of religious terrorism but seeks to understand the 'odd attraction of religion and violence.' Juergensmeyer is a powerful, skillful writer whose deeply empathetic interviewing techniques allow readers to enter the minds of some of the late 20th century's most feared religious terrorists." - Publishers Weekly (starred review) "By studying different 'cultures of violence' Mark Juergensmeyer has provided a plausible and imaginative interpretation of this phenomenon. He presents a lucid and compelling argument that does not belittle or demonize its subjects. This is an important contribution to our knowledge of the relationship between religion and violence." - Martha Crenshaw, editor of Terrorism in Context
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 wide-ranging and erudite 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, the first comparative study of religious terrorism, explores incidents such as the World Trade Center 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 Center 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 helps us understand why these acts are often associated with religious causes and why they occur with such frequency at this moment in history. "Terror in the Mind of God" places these acts of violence in the context of global political and social changes, and posits them as attempts to empower the cultures of violence that support them. Juergensmeyer analyzes the economic, ideological, and gender-related dimensions of cultures that embrace a central sacred concept - cosmic war - and that employ religion to demonize their enemies. Juergensmeyer's narrative is engaging, incisive, and sweeping in scope. He convincingly shows that while, in many cases, religion supplies not only the ideology but also the motivation and organizational structure for the perpetrators of violent acts, it also carries with it the possibilities for peace. This book won the "Los Angeles Times" Best Nonfiction Book of 2000 award.