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Mahmood Mamdani Biography

In the wake of the deadliest two weeks for American forces since the war began, the President this week made a case for "staying the course" in Iraq. NOW analyzes what the reality on the ground in Iraq means for the prospects for peace in the Middle East. Bill Moyers talks with Mahmood Mamdani for context and analysis.

Mahmood Mamdani
Mahmood Mamdani, a third generation East African of Indian origin, was born in Kampala, Uganda. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1974. Since 1999 he has been the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government in the Departments of Anthropology and International Affairs, and Director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University. His books include CITIZEN AND SUBJECT and WHEN VICTIMS BECOME KILLERS. In 2001 he presented one of the nine papers that were delivered at the Nobel Peace Prize Centennial Symposium.

In his newest book, GOOD MUSLIM, BAD MUSLIM: AMERICA, THE COLD WAR, AND THE ROOTS OF TERROR, Mamdani brings his expertise to bear on a question many Americans have been asking since September 11, 2001: How did this happen?

GOOD MUSLIM, BAD MUSLIM raises many tough questions and explores what has been happening around the world in relation to U.S. foreign policy, terrorism, and the rise of contemporary political Islam. Mamdani dispels the idea of "good" (secular, westernized) Muslims, and "bad" (primitive, fanatical) Muslims, underlining the fact that Islam is not a politically based religion. Focusing on the reasons Islam has become politicized, Mamdani illustrates how the American government's indirect, post-Vietnam-era sponsorship of terrorist leaders in Indochina and Africa began as a way of dealing with the perceived threat of spreading Soviet influence in these regions. He suggests the West's political analysis of Islam is distorted and thus its activites continues to dangerously skew its response to them.

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