Qaeda still appeals to young Moslem men, most Moslems are put off by the
increasingly radical practices, and ideology, of the terrorist organization.
This keeps showing up in opinion surveys. The major problem has is the large number
of Moslems it has killed, mainly in Iraq. This was justified by the radical
doctrine of considering a Moslem who does not agree with you, a heretic. This
means that person is worse than a non-believer, and can be attacked with the
utmost savagery. That means you can kill the traitors entire family if you
wish. This doctrine has been around for about eight centuries, and it has never
worked. But it's where Islamic radicals tend to end up when they are losing.
Not all of al Qaedas leaders
appear to agree with the "heretic" approach. This caused some rather public
arguments, especially when al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi,
insisted that any Moslem who did not follow al Qaeda was a traitor, and could
be killed. Zarqawis continued use of suicide bomb attacks against Iraqi Moslems
turned many of his core supporters (Sunni Arabs) against him, and is believed
to have contributed to Zarqawis death in
A similar "kill 'em all"
strategy led to the destruction of the Islamic radical groups in Algeria. This
violence began in the early 1990s, as did a somewhat smaller insurrection in
Egypt. Both of these terror campaigns were largely ignored in the West, even
though Algerian and Egyptian Islamic terrorists began to show up in other parts
of the world. The 1993 bombing of New York City's World Trade Center involved
an Egyptian Islamic radical leader, who had gotten into the U.S. as a political
refugee (from Egypt, where he was being "persecuted" for his religious
After September 11, 2001, the
United States and Europe looked around and found that they have given sanctuary
to a large number of Islamic radicals, who used their new safe havens as bases
for planning new terror campaigns. Young Moslems in non-Moslem nations are
becoming the most enthusiastic supporters of al Qaeda, partly because they are
farthest from the reality of Islamic terrorism. Al Qaeda is trying to mobilize
these new recruits for terror missions. That is complicated by the increasing
efficiency of intelligence efforts in the West, and anti-al Qaeda attitudes by
many older Moslems there.