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Deadly Clerics: Blocked Ambition and the Paths to Jihad. By Richard A. Nielsen.


The history of Islamism in the twentieth century is one of lay preachers calling for a return to Islamic values, laws, and governance in the modern world. Paradoxically, formally trained Muslim clerics play a relatively minor role in this influential movement. Hassan Al-Banna, the founder of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood movement, began his career as a schoolteacher. Abul A’la Mawdudi, the founder of the Indo-Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami movement, spent much of his early life as a journalist. Sayyid Qutb was a teacher and literary critic before he became the author of Milestones, the manifesto of radical Islamism.

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