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Guardians of God: Inside the Religious Mind of the Pakistani Taliban


Publisher's description

When Mona Kanwal Sheikh stepped into the volatile conflict zones of Pakistan to interview the Taliban, she encountered many challenging situations. Once, shortly after she declined to meet a militant at Islamabad's Marriott Hotel-a symbol of American dominance-a terrorist bomb targeted the hotel killing 53 people. The fact that she was shadowed by intelligence agencies also impeded her endeavour to get close to the Taliban.

Undeterred, Sheikh interviewed several militants often depicted by the Western media as highly secretive, ruthless, and unapproachable. She had hours of conversation with Taliban militants and their supporters, ate mangoes with them, joined them in prayers, and listened to emotional anthems about the necessity to join jihad. Years of first-hand research later, she offers the most comprehensive account of the Pakistani Taliban and their religious justifications for jihad. This book explains how the Taliban, who view themselves as guardians of God, think it is their holy mission to protect Islam from the armies of the 'wrong' faiths. Paradoxically, their violent defence of the sacred encompasses worldly concerns such as social justice, peace, and political order.

Guiding us to a finer understanding of the Taliban worldview, Sheikh builds a case for dialogue with an enemy that may choose to lay down arms if its grievances are correctly understood.

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