The Celebration of Death and the Cycle of Violence

Bruce would undoubtably be proud of the use of ‘Born in the USA’

In the Introduction to Sayyid Qutb’s Social Justice in Islam, Hamid Algar points to Qutb’s experience of America in the late-1940s and early 50s as influencing his turn from secularism to the Muslim Brethren. According to Hamid Algar, a catalyst for this transition in Qutb’s thinking was the celebratory response of the American’s to the news that a founder of the Muslim Brethren had been assassinated. Algar writes,

Sayyid Qutb had been increasingly well disposed to the Muslim Brethren ever since he witnessed the ecstatic reception given in America to the news of the assassination, on February 12, 1949, of Hasan al-Banna, founder of the organization.                                                    Hamid Algar in Social Justice in Islam, Islamic Publications International, New York, 2000: 3.  

Despite completing a master’s degree in education at the University of Northern Colorado and being initially open to US democracy as an example of political governance, the American character and way of life left him disturbed and disenchanted. This disturbance led Qutb to return to Egypt and join the Muslim Brethren in the struggle against what he regarded as the corrupting and deleterious effects of the West.
Perhaps had there been little more loving of enemies in 1949, or as a compromise, not loving and rejoicing over their demise, then the radicalization of Qutb and the escalation of resentment resulting in the 9/11 attacks may have been averted. But perhaps Jeremiah 13:23 is more apt in this context than Matthew 5:44. 


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