The historian Niall Ferguson is the author most recently of The War of the World. In an interview in the "Ideas" section of today's Boston Globe, he has this to say:
IDEAS: How do you understand radical Islamism? Is it, as some say, the successor to Marxism?
FERGUSON:It is. The great category error of our time is to equate radicalIslamism with fascism. If you actually read what Osama bin Laden says,it's clearly Lenin plus the Koran. It's internationalist,revolutionary, and anticapitalist-rhetoric far more of the left than ofthe right. And radical Islamism is good at recruiting within oursociety, within western society generally. In western Europe, to anextent people underestimate here, the appeal of radical Islamismextends beyond Muslim communities.
IDEAS: To people who might once have been drawn to Marxism?
FERGUSON:And for much the same reason. Here is a way to reject the impure,corrupt qualities of western life and embrace a monotheistic zealotry.That's very satisfying.