July 14, 2005
Islam & Terror - Profounder Reflections
As noted, I remain submerged in corporate flackery and spin, but I wanted to bring several items to everyone's attention.
First, the esteemed Abu Aardvark has two important posts up:
On the first, Aardvark and Murphy raise important points. First, that the Takfiri extreme of the Salafistes is beyond reason in large part. That they go so far in denouncing fellow Muslims (even observant ones, but of the wrong type) already indicates they have gone well beyond the point of reasoned influence. However, there is 'drain the swamp' effect of moderate scholars (which I believe Aardvark, but certainly I would include anti-violence but strong conservatives) denunciations.
I will quote Aardvark quoting Murphy quoting ... Aardvark:
"The hard core really are in a sense beyond reason — moderate scholars are not going to influence their views or behavior," says Marc Lynch, a professor of political science and a Middle East expert at Williams College in Massachusetts. "But if you're the kind of person who might become a jihadi, there's a chance you might take the moderates' criticisms seriously."
Mr. Lynch says the real importance of consistent attacks on the takfiri line is that it's probably convincing at least some fence-sitting young men to not go over to the other side. "What they can do is prevent the hard-core types from attracting a lot more recruits and supporters. If you didn't have the counterbalance of these denunciations, the momentum would be all on one side. It's not a silver bullet, but it might keep their growth at a standstill," he says.
I agree. Not only do I agree, I can attest to having seen this happen in families that I know well, and have known for a long time.
Anectdotal, to be sure, but there it is.
On his post on the incredibly nihilistic bombing of the children, I would add one item - although naturally in this online commentary world one goes, very often, with the online version of reality - re media, I do recall when I had a working Sat TV in my office, the strong sense that there is and was a significant difference between the broadcast sensation of presentation and the online text.
Not a criticism, by the way, of his comments, merely offering a thought in reflexion.
Finally, there is this article in The Financial Times which bears on the issue:
The UK foment of Islam’s radical fringe
By Stephen Fidler, Jimmy Burns and Roula Khalaf
Published: July 13 2005 21:08 | Last updated: July 13 2005 21:08
It has some extremely interesting data. Some of it depressing. Some of it hopeful. The overall impression, however, is that far too many British Muslims feel alienated. That is a problem, but I don't believe that British society is at fault there. Rather, it strikes me that the British Islamic community has not sat down (a bit of a stupid thing to say, actually thinking about it, but no matter, gotten together) and reflected hard on how they can actually integrate. Britain is certainly not perfect - no place is - but the British approach to its Muslim minority has been far more healthy and open than that say of France - whose discourse remains filled with the stink of colonial era polite racism in regards to minorities. British muslims have to grapple with the reality that they do not live in Dar al Islam(in the old sense) and that realistic attitudes on their - to use a French-North African expression "receiving country."
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Was going to post this at the Aardvark, but I figured I'd actually add value to this site.
I was in Damascus on the day after the bombings, with a group of people from around the region as well as the states doing a kind of "muslim-Christian dialogue" tour. Anyway, we were at the Abu Nour mosque and talked for a while with Salah Kuftaro, the son of the now-deceased mufti of Syria and one of the movers & shakers in the official Islam scene in Syria.
One thing he focused on was that meeting in Amman (which I have to read a lot more about - anyone have a pointer to a good online report?), and there was a lot of talk about getting the muta'adil (moderate) islamic line out there, above the noise of the bombings and so forth. And thank God, people in the group weren't willing to let him just whine about how biased the media was - there was a direct question/comment to the effect of "Fine, so you issued a press release condemning the attack, what ELSE are you going to do about this?"
The other interesting (and heartening) thing was that he then went and preached a sermon in the mosque using the exact line of argument he'd been pushing in the meeting with the young mostly-Christian ngo-types.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at July 15, 2005 01:23 AM