Counter-Terrorism: Islamic Moderates Get Mad

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November16, 2006: Islamic radicalism gets a lot of publicity. And why not? These thugs kill lots of people, in spectacular ways, and then boast of doing it in the name of God. Or that least their version of God, who, they say, commands them to keep on killing. These guys seek the publicity, and know that their horrific acts attract the media. But what about all the Moslems who are not fans of Islamic terrorism? They are the majority, and there are lots of them actively opposing the fanatics. These backlash incidents rarely make the press. Not quite violent enough. But in places like Indonesia, Pakistan, the Gulf States, Africa and Bosnia, the moderates are stopping the radicals. Sometimes with violence, but more often with words, or using the law and their greater numbers. The radicals will often cry "religious persecution," or insist that their opponents are not "true Moslems." These antics have lost a lot of their impact during the last few years. Mainstream Moslems are getting tired of the empty rhetoric and bullying.

In Indonesia, gangs of Islamic radicals on "anti-vice" patrols (to bust up bars and movie theaters), are increasingly running into groups of cops, or pissed off citizens, who chase off the radicals (or arrest them.) Indonesian Islamic radicals have made themselves lots of enemies by denouncing popular religious leaders. The many followers, of those denounced, make their own threats of violence. It's getting harder to be hard core.

In Bosnia, an Arab religious leader, a follower of the very conservative Wahhabi sect, accused a popular local religious leader of being a communist (that is, a Moslem leader that was less than truly Islamic during the decades of communist rule). This caused a major uproar, and the radical cleric felt compelled to make a public apology. That may not be enough, either. Western nations have been after Bosnia to crack down on the many radical Moslems who have taken up residence in Bosnia. There are currently some 1,500 foreign Moslems who have settled down in Bosnia. Most of these came during the fighting in the 1990s, to help out. Many married local women, and some were very active with their Islamic radicalism. As a result of that, over 150 have lost their citizenship and been sent packing, or to jail, or kept under observation.

The antics of Islamic radicals, and the responses of moderate Moslems, is becoming more widely known in the Moslem world. Even if the mass media tends to ignore these things. As a result, the Islamic radicals are facing a growing threat in their own "homeland." But this is a cycle that has been playing out for centuries. Only historians even recognize it, but we will all be able to observe it this time around.

 


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