Terrorism: July 21, 2005


The July 7 al Qaeda attacks in London have motivated Pakistan to make some energetic moves against terrorists. This is because three of the London suicide bombers were identified as of Pakistani origin. Moreover, there are about half a million Pakistanis (migrants or their descendents) in Britain, and this group stays in touch with the old country. Pakistan was embarrassed by the situation. The Pakistani actions consisted of raids on religious schools (Madrassas) suspected of training Islamic radicals. Pakistan has pledged, before, to shut down these schools, but backed off when confronted with political pressure from Islamic conservative groups. But now, the connection of some of the London bombers to these schools has given the government the incentive to move against them once more. This will probably have no long term effect. Any schools directly related to London suicide bombers may be closed, but the other people arrested, will probably be quietly released, and other schools will be allowed to continue operating.

 The problem with Islamic schools is not that they teach hatred of the West and condone Islamic terrorism. No, the larger problem is that most Islamic clerics and leaders believe that that the West is basically at fault and the cause of so many problems in the Islamic world. For example, it is still widely believed, and casually mentioned in sermons or classroom instruction, that the September 11, 2001 attacks were actually carried out by the CIA and/or Israel to provide an excuse to make war on the Moslem world. Despite the widespread approval by Iraqis of the removal of Saddam dictatorship, most Islamic clerics continue to preach of the "illegal occupation" of Iraq and the justified battle by Iraqis to end this. What these clerics ignore is that the violence in Iraq is largely Saddam's Sunni Arab supporters trying to regain power.  

This lack of agreement on fundamental issues is what provides so much support for al Qaeda. In the Moslem world, the clergy, and many civil leaders, have bought into the its not our fault concept in a big way. To them, all the ills of the Moslem world are the fault of  Western, especially Israeli, plots. Moslem inaction is innocent, in part because "Islam" means "submission," and passivity is accepted as a reasonable approach to life. The Islamic terrorists are admired because, in this sea of passivity, they are actually doing something. While these same Islamic leaders condemn al Qaeda for killing so many Moslems in their attacks, they have a hard time completely denouncing al Qaedas activities. After all, al Qaeda is on a mission from God, and the suicide bombers are Holy Warriors. While some Islamic clergy will condemn some of the attacks, they will turn around and agree with a lot of the al Qaeda rhetoric about what is wrong with the world and why. Until the Moslem world gets a reality check, and agrees that most of their problems are self inflicted, and best worked out by themselves, al Qaeda will continue to flourish in a sea of fables and self-deception.



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