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The road to 9/11: Al-Qaeda, America, and the globalization of Jihad

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The 9/11 attacks were a tragic landmark event which forced the 'international community' to acknowledge the world’s vulnerability to 'terrorism'. Intellectuals sought to identify the causes of the event and one of the prominent explanations (which came to be known as culture talk) was that terrorism was rooted in religion and culture. In light of the September 11 terrorist attacks, advocates of this line of thinking claim that Al-Qaeda is a predominantly religious-inspired group of fundamentalists from a pre-modern culture which aims to issue a challenge to the modern Western way of life. This research project, which will use Al-Qaeda as a case study and investigate the factors which led up to 9/11, offers a counter-argument to 'culture talk'. It will argue that 9/11 was the manifestation of a political contest between Western and non-Western actors seeking political power, albeit with divergent (but equally potent and dangerous) ideologies.
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