On Suicide Bombing- By Talal Asad, Columbia University Press 2007, Pp. 128. ISBN: 0-231-14152-1
Many people seem to presume that the motivation for the current surge in brutal terrorism is associated with a religious factor—Islamic fundamentalism. This perceived connection has unleashed a wave of Islamophobia, particularly in Western societies . However, Talal Asad’s concise but thought-provoking book challenges that widespread assumption. Asad asks in his introduction: “Is there a religiously motivated terrorism? If so, how does it differ from other cruelties? What makes its motivation—as opposed to the simple intent to kill— religious? Where does it stand in relation to other forms of collective violence? How is the image of the suicide bomber, bringing death to himself and others, addressed by Christians and post-Christians?” (p. 1). Asad then proceeds to address these questions, while protecting against possible misinterpretation by indicating that he does not intend to provide moral justification for terrorist atrocities.