Counter-Terrorism: March 11, 2005


The roots of Islamic terrorism are found in religious leaders, who proclaim terrorism in the name of God to be a good and worthy thing. Some Islamic nations are getting down in the trenches and fighting this sort of thing at the source. In Jordan, the king has backed a counter-attack by Islamic scholars who disagree with the Islamic radicals interpretation of the Koran. Most Islamic scholars do not agree with the scriptural interpretations of radical Islam, but have been ignored, or terrorized into silence. The media, of course, finds the bloodthirsty version of Islam more appealing. If it bleeds, it leads, and all that. 

In Jordan, the kings backing of increasingly vocal mainstream Islamic scholars has prevented Islamic radicals from terrorizing their clerical critics, and made Islamic radicalism less appealing. Theres also fear that this will cause the Islamic radicals to go underground. But many of the more violent Islamic radicals have long been operating in the shadows. What the king of Jordan wants to do is get the Islamic radicals out of the schools and pulpits. This takes muscle, and the king is providing it. As a result, the Islamic radicals get a smaller audience, and fewer recruits.

Yemen, where the bin Laden family came from originally, is also cracking down on Islamic radical preachers and teachers. The government has identified over 4,000 schools in the country that are run by unauthorized groups, or foreigners. There is a crackdown on this, even though the government provides no alternative form of public education. Saudi Arabian religious charities have long used money, to build and staff religious schools, as a major form of spreading the conservative Wahabi form of Islam. Most, but not all, Islamic radicals trace their roots back to Wahhabism. Yemen, and other Moslem countries, dont mind Saudi charities coming in and building mosques and schools. They do, increasingly, mind the Saudi groups supply Islamic radicals as preachers and teachers. 

Pakistan, Indonesia and several African countries have also started to monitor and regulate what is taught in the schools sponsored by Saudi religious charities, or other Islamic radical groups. This is popular with parents, who dont like seeing their kids turned into terrorists, or little religious tyrants who criticize their elders poor religious habits. In Jordan, and all the other nations, the Islamic moderates have the support of most of the population. Now that support is being mobilized to stop the Islamic radicals. The fact that most terrorists operating today are Islamic terrorists is not something most Moslems are proud of, or sympathetic with.


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