Counter-Terrorism: Why Moslems Tolerate Islamic Terrorists


March 12, 2007: Four Moslem nations (Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan) have joined forces to fight Islamic terrorism via efforts to promote moderate Islam among young people throughout the Islamic world. The United States has long urged such a program, but the four nations involved here are acting largely out of self-interest. All four have suffered from attacks by their own young people, acting out their Islamic radical fantasies. All these nations have long ignored Islamic radicalism, feeling it was too risky to confront radical Islamic clerics. Like most Islamic countries, the U.S. is blamed for the recent upsurge in Islamic radicalism, brought about by the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The traditional approach to Islamic radicalism in Moslem countries is to leave it alone, unless there are acts of terrorism committed locally. Then there is a savage crackdown, and the knowledge that the Islamic radicalism will return in a generation or so. It always does. It's a "holier than thou" thing, which makes Islamic radicals difficult for Moslems to criticize, unless the radicals start killing women and shildren, which many of them eventually do.

When the Islamic radicals move their operations to foreign countries, there is a public pledge of help in catching them. But in practice, the radicals are tolerated at home as long as they behave at home. These governments don't like to get involved in religious politics, because you can't win. The clerics all invoke the power of God to back their arguments, and there's not a lot a politician can do in the midst of all that.

The war in Iraq has been very useful for Moslem nations trying to deal with Islamic radicals. Many of the most dangerous Islamic radicals have gone off to fight, and die, in Iraq. Those that come back home are far fewer than those who left, and easier to keep an eye on. Many are not transformed into "experienced terrorists" by their time in Iraq, but into disillusioned and shell shocked veterans of things they had not expected to encounter.

Most Islamic clerics have a hard time condemning the "martyrs" who "died for the faith." But Islamic governments see an opportunity to overcome this, because in Iraq, the Islamic terrorists appear to have crossed the line. The numerous murders of Moslems, especially women and children (who are traditionally left alone when Moslems fight each other), has appalled most Moslems, and al Qaeda is way down in the popularity polls as a result. The Islamic radicals have openly condemned the new program to support moderate Islam, which indicates that this new policy may help. By declaring all "moderate Moslems" to be enemies, the Islamic radicals isolate themselves even more in the Islamic world.




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