Daniel Pipes writes in the New York Sun and his website:
Do terrorist atrocities in the West, such as the attacks of September 11, 2001 and those in Bali, Madrid, Beslan, and London, help radical Islam achieve its goal of gaining power?
No, they are counterproductive. That’s because radical Islam has two distinct wings – one violent and illegal, the other lawful and political – and they exist in tension with each other. The lawful strategy has proven itself effective, but the violent approach gets in its way.
The violent wing is foremost represented by the world’s no. 1 fugitive, Osama bin Laden. The popular and powerful prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, represents the lawful wing. Even as “Al Qaeda has more state adversaries than nearly any force in history,” as Daniel C. Twining observes, political imams like Yusuf al-Qaradawi instruct huge audiences on Al-Jazeera television and visit with the mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. As Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr skulks around Iraq, looking for a role, Ayatollah Sistani dominates the country’s political life.
Yes, terrorism kills enemies, instills fear, and disrupts the economy. Yes, it boosts morale and recruits non-Muslims to Islam and Muslims to Islamism. It creates an opportunity for Islamists to fight for their favorite causes, such as the elimination of Israel or the disengagement of coalition forces from Iraq. It provides, as Mark Steyn notes, intelligence information on the enemy. And yes, it prompts politically correct talk about Islam being a “religion of peace,” with Muslims portrayed as victims.
But for two main reasons, terrorism does radical Islam more harm than good.
First, it alarms and galvanizes Westerners. For example, the July 7 bombings took place during the G8 summit in Scotland, where world leaders were focused on global warming, aid to Africa, and macro-economic issues. In a London minute, the politicians then redirected their attention toward counterterrorism. Thus did the terrorists stiffen, as Mona Charen points out, “whatever small residue of resolve remains in flaccid Western civilization.”
More broadly, Mr. Twining notes, “Al Qaeda’s rise has produced the kind of great power entente not seen since the Concert of Europe took shape in 1815.” (Even the Madrid bombings, an apparent exception, led to a marked strengthening of counterterrorism measures by Spain and other European countries.)
Second, terrorism obstructs the quiet work of political Islamism. In tranquil times, organizations like the Muslim Council of Britain and the Council on American-Islamic Relations effectively go about their business, promoting their agenda to make Islam “dominant” and imposing dhimmitude (whereby non-Muslims accept Islamic superiority and Muslim privilege). Westerners generally respond like slowly boiled frogs are supposed to, not noticing a thing…
Read it all.