“Why we will never be able to count on what we call ‘the moderate Muslims’ for the war against terrorism.” I have personally encountered the reaction of which Fiamma Nirenstein speaks in this New York Sun article (thanks to waterdragon52) many times: Muslims condemn terrorism, but then make all kinds of excuses and exceptions so that it becomes clear that they don’t mean to condemn Osama, Hamas, etc., at all. And that the All-Purpose Bogeyman is the one who is really behind today’s terrorism. This is useful to keep in mind.
SHARM EL-SHEIK, Egypt – The poor people dressed in Islamic garb or in dirty blue trousers and T-shirts sitting in 118-degree heat in the hall of the Sharm el-Sheik Hospital were either the brothers, the cousins, or the friends of the people wounded in the terrorist attack of the day before. Just plenty of desperate young people….
You understand many things about terrorism when you speak to them; and you understand also, unfortunately, why we will never be able to count on what we call “the moderate Muslims” for the war against terrorism….
So, let’s test this thesis and ask: “Do they hate terrorists?” The answer is “Yes, very much so,” and they really do, – they close their fists and watch in rage and repeat to me that they deeply hope that Mr. Mubarak will catch them all, will put them in prison, will kill them. Are they ready to fight them? Yes, at every level, with their hands, if requested, and with demonstrations that actually, while I’m in Sharm, suddenly appear in the hot streets and just in front of the cameras of the international press: “Down with terrorism,” “We are against terrorism”…
But then, if it’s so, why can the great moderate Muslim world not really fight their own enemy? They themselves give me the answers: “Bin Laden? The Muslim Brotherhood? Certainly the terrorist attacks are not their work, no! This is a lie. A Muslim could never do this. And if they say they do it in the name of Islam, they are not Islamic; or, most likely, this shows, like the television says, that someone uses the name of Islam just to hide the real perpetrators.”
Anyhow, Islam is out of the question, And then, we ask again, who is behind the attacks? Well, you know the answer, they smile with a smart expression. Mahmoud, who comes from a periphery of Cairo, where he now cannot go back because he doesn’t have the money for a bus ticket, knows the answer, and so do all his other friends, about 10, all from the same town, now all together as one, standing in the corridor of the Hospital of Sharm, no air-conditioning, their friend Khaled in bed with a wound in his back (“I was lucky. Nadem had both of his legs amputated,” Khaled says).
They know the answer, yes: the television said that only the Israelis and the Americans have a real interest in seeing Egypt on its knees; General Fuad Allam said that the perpetrators of the Taba attack of October 2004 were apparently linked to the Israeli security forces, and so, supposedly, it is today. Also Al-Jazeera and even Al-Arabia interviewed “experts” to confirm this point of view. A big, beautiful guy with a red T-shirt just puts it down bluntly: “We know only what the television tells us.”