View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Thomas Friedman on Putting Islamic Radicals Out of Business

Thomas Friedman writes in the New York Times:

“The same day that President Obama spoke to the Muslim world from Cairo University, Osama bin Laden released a long statement on Islamic Web sites and on Al Jazeera. As the Egyptian Middle East expert Mamoun Fandy noted: “Obama beat Osama hands down. Ask anyone about the content of Obama’s speech and they will tell you. Ask them what Osama said and most people will say, ‘Did he give a speech?’”

“To the extent that the radical Islamists have any energy today, it comes not from the power of their ideas or examples of good governance, but by stoking sectarian feuds. In Afghanistan, the Taliban play on Pashtun nationalist grievances, and in Iraq, the Sunni jihadists draw energy from killing Shiites.”

“The only way to really dry up their support, though, is for the Arab and Muslim modernists to actually implement better ideas by producing less corrupt and more consensual governance, with better schools, more economic opportunities and a vision of Islam that is perceived as authentic yet embracing of modernity. That is where “our” allies in Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have so consistently failed. Until that happens, the Islamist radicals will be bankrupt, but not out of business.”

To read the full article:
Thomas Friedman, The Losers Hang on, The New York Times, 25 July 2009.

Barack, Have You Heard My Favorite Middle Eastern Joke About…SFE.
Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman, RBM.
Thomas Friedman, Machiavelli and the Challenge of Change, SFS.
Thomas Friedman: Call Your Mother, SFS.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Image: Taliban fighters train with their weapons in an undisclosed location in Afghanistan July 14, 2009. (Courtesy REUTERS/Stringer from Boston’s The Big Picture).