Bruce Hoffman and Faisal Devji and Their New Venues

For those seeking smart, original commentary or commentary events and the “war on terrorism,” Bruce Hoffman and Faisal Devji, two prominent Columbia University Press authors recently started new writing ventures that should be of great interest.

Earlier this summer, Bruce Hoffman, author of Inside Terrorism and the series editor for Columbia Studies in Terrorism and Irregular Warfare, began blogging for The National Interest. Hoffman’s posts weigh in and analyze events in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and Palestine. Needless to say, he also comments on efforts to combat terrorism but there are also surprises, including his picks for great fiction reading and a look at Osama bin Laden’s “rebellious” son.

Faisal Devji, author of The Terrorist in Search of Humanity: Militant Islam and Global Politics, recently wrote his first column for Current Intelligence. His first post, “The Moderate Muslim’s Fate,” offers a new perspective on the controversy about the proposed mosque to be built in downtown Manhattan.

Devji argues that most of the discussion surrounding the planned mosque fail to “address the controversy’s larger and more lasting implications.” Among other arguments, Devji suggests that the debate reflects that those who oppose the mosque “have realised that the Global War on Terror is effectively over, and that the US faces no existential threat from terrorism, despite the continuing possibility of random attacks at home and the need that still remains to deal with some insurgencies abroad.”

Devji maintains that the attitudes toward Muslims by opponents of the mosque “falls into a received pattern of domestic prejudice against minorities.” He continues:

Instead it might be more productive to recognize that Muslims can be reviled today precisely because they are no longer feared as a global threat, having become domesticated into a minority like many others who faced discrimination in the past: ethnic Germans, Italians and Japanese during one or both World Wars, Catholics and Jews among religious communities, and today the Latin populations targeted as “illegal immigrants” alongside those old favourites for criminal profiling, African-Americans.”

He also believes that the controversy reflects more on the changes currently going on among the Right in the United States than either the perceived threat of militant Islam or “Islamophobia.”

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