Al-Qaeda is not finished. From Arnaud de Borchgrave in UPI, :
WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Before we convince ourselves al-Qaida’s down for the count, look at the stats.
Number of Islamist extremists in the world, as estimated by moderate Muslim leaders, about 12 million. Number of fundamentalist sympathizers: 120 million. That’s one and 10 percent of the world’s Muslim population of 1.2 billion. Then there’s the number who trust Osama Bin Laden more than President Bush: a majority in Muslim countries whose populations total 450 million.
European intelligence services know an alarming number of mosques are privileged sanctuaries used by extremists. Not all mosques have observable minarets the way churches and synagogues are recognized by crosses, the nine-branched Jewish Menorah Hanukiyah and stars of David. A mosque can be declared an Islamic place of worship by self-proclaimed imams anywhere they choose, from a basement to a garage. There are 8,000 mosques, according to German intelligence officials, to minister to a Turkish minority of 2.4 million and some 500,000 North African Muslims. France has some 10,000 mosques for 6 million North Africans; the United States, 2,000.
Beyond normal Friday prayers in Western mosques, there is a common anti-Bush political message, virulent in Europe, more discreet in the United States. Internal intelligence services in Europe and the FBI in the U.S. have kept radical imams and their proselytizing efforts under close surveillance. There is little doubt among European intelligence chiefs the Western world in general and the United States in particular is now faced with a global ideological foe convinced the U.S. is the fount of all evil.
Nasir Ahmad al Bahri, known as Abu Jandal, a former Osama Bin Laden bodyguard, interviewed by Al Quds Al Arabi, a London-based, anti-U.S. Arab daily, said last week: “Al-Qaida is no longer an entity but an ideology against America. … The plan is now to draw the U.S. into a confrontation with all the Islamic peoples. … Bin Laden and al-Qaida have succeeded in drawing the U.S. into an unequal confrontation, not from a military technology standpoint, but from the ideological aspect. Muslims have now reached the point where they are fed up with the U.S., which lives in prosperity off our nation’s resources. I believe the U.S. is heading for its demise. Now that it has found what it wanted, al-Qaida can melt into a new caldron, and a new giant would be reborn, of which al-Qaida would be part. Many of the Islamic world leaders would join it, and the confrontation with the U.S. would be inevitable. Al-Qaida would then not be the leader, but a vanguard army.” A veteran of Bosnia and Somalia, Yemeni-born Abu Jandal joined al-Qaida in 1996, the year Bin Laden moved from Sudan to Afghanistan.
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