Jun 03 2008

Bin Laden And al-Qaeda Losing The Muslim Street

Published by at 12:19 pm under All General Discussions,Iraq

Things have become so bad for al-Qaeda’s support from the Muslim Street even Newsweek is reporting that, after 7 years of war with the West, the Muslim Street is turning against al-Qaeda:


Back in the mid-1990s, Osama bin Laden had a problem, and it was Islam. He wanted to say the Qur’an gave his followers license to kill innocents—and themselves—in the cause of “jihad.” That was how he could justify his global campaign of terror. But that’s not what the Muslim holy book says, and that’s not the way it was interpreted by any of the great scholars and preachers of the faith.

So bin Laden set about spinning the revelations contained in the Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, known as the Hadith, which provide much of the context for actual religious practice in the Muslim world. The Saudi millionaire wrote a diatribe that he called a declaration of war and then afatwa, or religious edict, cherry-picking quotations from Islamic Scripture and calling on dubious scholars to back him up. The tracts were political propaganda, not theology, but for his purpose they worked very well. The apocalyptic notion of holy war he promoted—and the reality of it that he demonstrated on 9/11—became the dominant vision of Islam for those with little understanding of the faith, whether in the West or, indeed, the Muslim world. Even many religious scholars were intimidated.

Now that’s starting to change.



Many states, even those like Pakistan or Saudi Arabia that have tolerated radicalism in the past, have come to see that their own stability depends on encouraging greater moderation. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has moved to curb the zealous excesses of some 10,000 imams on the government payroll. The government isn’t rethinking basic doctrines, one of the king’s advisers, who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record, told NEWSWEEK: “Let’s say there is a theological debate about how to present their ideas and advice to the public.” If a woman dresses a little immodestly by Saudi religious standards, it should be enough simply to say that without calling her a harlot, threatening her with punishment or worse. The idea is to tone down the fire and brimstone, which has inspired young Saudis to sign up for jihad in Iraq and elsewhere.

Across the Muslim world, people appear ready for this new message. 

Bin Laden’s prescription for change, meanwhile, has led to nothing but death and destruction. Radicals have turned their anger and their bombs against other Muslims whom they deem apostates or simply inconsequential. As a result, they’ve found themselves isolated. In Iraq, Al Qaeda’s forces are on the ropes and largely indistinguishable from gangsters. In Pakistan, polls show public support for suicide bombings has dropped from more than 30 percent five years ago, to less than 9 percent today. In an open letter last year, a Saudi scholar bin Laden had long revered, Sheik Salman al-Oudah, demanded, “Brother Osama, how much blood has been spilt? How many innocents among children, elderly, the weak, and women have been killed and made homeless in the name of Al Qaeda?”


Was Iraq worth the blood and treasure we expended?  Hell yes, if al-Qaeda has been turned from the future of Islam into the enemy of Islam, it was definitely worth it.  Instead of a growing anger at the West from the Muslim communities of the Middle East we see a growing anger with Bin Laden and his thugs.  Just as Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany once railed against America and democracy were transformed into beacons of freedom and democracy, so to we could be seeing a major fundamental shift in the heart of Islam as it awakens from the throws of violent extremism.  At least this time it did not require sinking the entire world into another World War to open the eyes of those deluded by fascism (whether religious or racists).

22 responses so far

22 Responses to “Bin Laden And al-Qaeda Losing The Muslim Street”

  1. Frogg says:

    al Qaeda and other Islamists (our enemy) are like the ‘Terminator’ in that it just won’t quit, no matter what you do. Every time you destroy one part…..it squishes out into nooks and crannies and hits again. It seems to me that we have hit the heart of the Monster hard by global efforts to stop financing, stop communications line, kill leaders, destroy training camps, take away safe havens, etc thanks to GWOT (expecially Iraq). We did this while winning over the hearts and minds (which is the real goal). As the center mass of our enemy gets destroyed it squishes out from the center to the next concentric circle. We move further out. It moves further out. Eventually you keep weakening the enemy and any effect they have. There are a lot of concentric circles. It will be a long war. If we hold what we have cleared….it will get easier and easier on one level (attacks of lesser significance, no command structure, etc). Yet, harder and harder on another level (adjusting tactics, thinking of new strategies, spreading out, etc).

    Some articles of interest:

    Dangerous naivety


    The Newest Trends in Terror

    How to Measure al Qaeda’s defeat
    By Walid Phares