Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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Al-Qaeda on Al-Qaeda: Analyzing the Bin Laden tape archive.


Bin Laden himself found the story of al-Qaeda, not among its supporters - I don't think it even existed for him as this coherent, pan-Islamic global jihadi ideology and organization - but in the West. And he was willing to run with it because he was a man who, by the mid-90s had alienated so many people with his militancy and calls to overthrow leaders at home.

Linguistic anthropologist Flagg Miller explains how a collection of 1,500 audiocassettes owned by Osama bin Laden opens a window into the philosophical roots of Al-Qaeda, shows the group's double-edged relationship with Saudi and Arab leaders, and documents how Osama bin Laden found success and notoriety pursuing an identity in part manufactured by Western governments and media.

Flagg is author of The Audacious Ascetic: What the Bin Laden Tapes Reveal About Al-Qa'ida from Oxford University Press.

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Flagg Miller

Flagg Miller is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Davis.


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