Friday, March 25, 2005

Al Qaeda on the rocks?

This is the very first piece I've seen from the Muslim mainstream press with anything like this tone and tenor. For me, it's one of the clearest visible indicators of change. Read the whole article, but here's how it concludes:

The biggest setback for the Islamists, however, is a shift of mood in the Is lamic heartland. The elections in West Bank and Gaza, Afghanistan and Iraq; Lebanon's freedom movement; the beginnings of change in Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia — all have helped generate new interest in democratic reform.

Also important are the efforts by Mahmoud Abbas to transform Palestine from an emotional cause into an issue of practical politics. Today, even Hamas, the most radical of Palestinian movements, is obliged to end its boycott of normal politics, and is getting ready to compete in the parliamentary elections.

While bin Laden's message of hatred and terror still resonates in sections of the Muslim communities and the remnants of the left in the West, the picture is different in the Muslim world. There, people are demonstrating for freedom — even (in Egypt a few weeks ago) for more trade with Israel.

This is a new configuration in which Islamist terrorism, although still deadly dangerous, has only a limited future.

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