… Sarah Barmak in the Toronto Star:
Could it be that the end of Islamist violence will be brought about by Jihadists themselves?
After collectively wringing our hands for years over how many hearts, minds and billions of dollars it will take to win the global war on terror, the secret weapon needed to fight the terrorists might just turn out to be the terrorists themselves.
Revelations surfaced last week that one of Islamic Jihad’s former top leaders is planning to renounce the extremes that define the movement, including the murder of civilians and choosing targets based on their religion or nationality. Such a retraction could puncture a huge hole in the fabric of the ideology of radical Islam, experts say. It could also trickle down to mosques and madrassas in places like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where terrorist doctrine often incubates.
Abdul-Aziz el-Sherif, a former associate of Al Qaeda deputy leader Ayman Al Zawahiri whose writings provided much of the religious and intellectual foundation for that group, was reported in a Washington Post article to be authoring his retraction in the underground Egyptian prison where he has been held for much of the last decade.
OK. A leading jihadist may change his ways. Jolly good, that. But that 1400 years of jihadist ideology will be erased by virtue of a single act of conscience? As Dana Carvey impersonating Bush the elder would say, “Nah gah dah.”
In every historical case of an extremist’s jump to moderation, however, critics will always remain to doggedly remember the bad old days. Gerges remains optimistic that the best source of moderation may be within the lunatic fringe.
Did you catch that? “[T]he best source of moderation may be within the lunatic fringe.” That’s it, I’m outta here. Good night folks.