The Jordanian journalist Natasha Tynes (thanks to JS), now based in Qatar, was recently uncomfortably close to a jihadist explosion in Doha — not that she was much surprised:
The borders for GCC (Gulf Countries) members are open, any GCC resident can move freely. I hate to sound judgmental but the signs were here. Religious extremism is not absent from Qatar. Only last week I was in a cab and the driver was listening to a speech encouraging people to go to Jihad across the globe. The preacher highlighted specific areas: Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya and Kashmir. The driver didn’t seem to be bothered by what he was hearing, he just sat quietly absorbing it all. The two of us listened to that speech in the cab from my house to work. It was still going when I got out.
The fact that an Egyptian national decided to blow himself up as a form of Jihad (since he’s killing mostly westerners) should not come as a surprise. Many here are likely being convinced by what extremists preach; brainwashing is possible, just sit in a cab all day listening to the sort of stuff I’m describing. I never felt this type of extremism in Jordan. People there are just more aware and skeptical of whatever ideology comes their way. Things are, unfortunately, not the same here.
We continue to hear that the jihadists are a tiny minority. Yet again and again we see reports indicating that their reach and influence is much greater than one might expect — for example, they seem to have a place on the Qatari airwaves, and at least one devoted listener. I suspect they have many more than that as well.