The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare by James F. Dunnigan
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Dirty Little Secrets
The War on Islamic Popular Opinion
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by James Dunnigan
July 29, 2005
Moderate Moslem voices are now being heard, which is a major victory in the war on terror. Since the emergence of radical Islamic terrorism in the 1990s, one of the major failures of religious and political leadership in the world's Moslem community has been their apparent unwillingness to openly criticize fellow Moslems. While this reticence is not unknown in the leadership of other religions plagued by radical extremists, given the strength and lethality of Moslem radicals, this failure to openly confront the extremists has led to considerable public outcry in the non-Moslem world. Of late, however, there are indications that Islamic religious leaders are becoming increasingly aware of how their failure to speak up has served only to encourage the radicals, while further discrediting Islam in the world at large. For some time now Afghan and Iraqi clerics been speaking up, often at considerable personal risk. By ones estimate some 200 Moslem clerics have been slain in the past year or so because they spoke out. And of late, other voices have been raised as well.
In Britain, the Moslem Council of Britain has strongly condemned the recent attacks in London, one spokesman stating "These terrorists, these evil people want to demoralize us as a nation and divide us. All must unite in helping the police to hunt these murderers down."
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in an effort coordinated by the Islamic Affairs Ministry, on Friday July 15th, some 90 percent of the Mosques throughout the UAE preached sermons condemning terrorism and religious extremism
In Saudi Arabia, perhaps in a move coordinated with that of the UAE, on the same day the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia preached a sermon against terrorism, and specifically condemned Saudis fighting with the insurgency in Iraq.
Moslem media, including blogs and radio call in shows (which are all the rage in Iraq), all reflect this new assertiveness, and disgust at the Moslems being slaughtered by Moslems in the name of Islamic radicalism. The important difference now is that al Qaeda is killing so many Moslems. Were most of the victims infidels (non-Moslems), this shift in public opinion would take a bit longer. Most Westerners don’t realize that, despite great oil wealth, it’s still customary (and has been for a long time) in the Moslem world to blame “the West” for whatever is wrong on the home front. In this case, “the West” included the Soviet Union. Thus the withdrawal of the atheist communist Soviets from Moslem Afghanistan in 1987, was greeted with great joy, and glee, in the Moslem world. Same with the major al Qaeda attacks on Western targets, especially September 11, 2001. Not something most Moslems will admit to Westerners, but now that they are on the receiving end of al Qaeda terrorism, most Moslems are shouting at, not cheering for, Islamic terrorists.