In this response to ‘Counter-Violence and Terrorism’, I argue, with Maria Russo, that fundamentalist Islamic terrorism transcends the boundaries of legitimate counter-violence on the Sartrean model, since this violence primarily oppresses Muslim communities. The ideological imperative of the jihadists’ way of being-in-the-world, based on a literalist Salafist/Wahhabist interpretation of sacred texts eschewed by a majority of Muslims, is the radical negation of otherness in all its forms: political, religious, cultural, civilisational and ideological. This jihadist worldview is nevertheless supported by millions of Muslims worldwide who seek to impose, by force if necessary, the global hegemony of sharia (Islamic) law as a divinely mandated system of government. By asserting the divine right to rule, the jihadists appear to give a (false) religious legitimacy to their fascist, totalitarian agenda.
Deborah Evans is an independent scholar who has previously published articles in both Sartre Studies International and Simone de Beauvoir Studies. Her other publications include ‘1945–2005: Existentialism and Humanism Sixty Years On’, in Sartre’s Second Century, edited by Benedict O’Donohoe and Roy Elveton (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009) and ‘Sartre and Beauvoir on Hegel’s Master – Slave Dialectic and the Question of the “Look”’, in Beauvoir and Sartre, The Riddle of Influence, edited by Christine Daigle and Jacob Golomb (Indiana University Press, 2009). She is currently completing a monograph for Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Sartre and Beauvoir: Public Images, Private Lives.