July 24, 2007
World Moslems: Jihad Is Like So Ten Minutes Ago
Pew Research, which has been polling the world about its hatred of America for decades, has detected a fascinating trend: Since 2002, Moslem support for Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and suicide bombings has plumeted -- by more than 40% in some countries. At the same time, their sense of personal and national well-being has risen dramatically; the two measurements are not completely unconnected.
2002 is likely when support for radical, militant Islam hit its peak worldwide: The 9/11 attacks had just percolated down to the level of the individual Achmed in the street, making the Moslem street believe that bin Laden was the "strong horse." Then the Taliban was crushed, enraging the street at the unfairness of life and frightening them about the march of the crusaders. And we had not yet done anything to raise Moslems up out of tyranny and poverty. It's easy to picture half the ummah marching towards Mecca chanting "solidarity forever!"
But then the hated tyrant Saddam Hussein was overthrown by the United States -- Crusaders and Zionists! -- liberating 27.5 million Moslems. Following four years of brutal fighting in Iraq, during which we never cut and ran -- and during which we also helped Moslems create what is currently the only Arab-Moslem democracy in the world -- the "street" has evidently decided that savagery, butchery, mayhem, and indiscriminate killing of innocents is not so grand a plan as they used to think. Not to mention the many Moslems who got a first-hand look at what life under a "caliphate" would be like; I suspect that had a lot to do with the change in attitude, both about the tactics and goals of terrorists and about who is actually the "strong horse" and who the lame pig.
It's a sea change, and it's still accelerating:
Muslims around the world increasingly reject suicide bombings and other violence against civilians in defense of Islam, according to a new international poll dealing with how the world's population judges their lives, countries and national institutions.
A wide ranging survey of international attitudes in 47 countries by the Pew Research Center also reported that in many of the countries where support for suicide attacks has declined, there has also has been decreasing support for al-Qaida leader Osama bin-Laden.
The 95-page survey found that surging economic growth in many developing countries has encouraged people in these countries to express satisfaction with their personal lives, family income and national conditions, said Andrew Kohut, the center's director.
"It's a pro-globalization set of findings," Kohut said.
Another way to put it uses the language of Thomas P.M. Barnett: Moslems in the Middle East, in Pakistan, and in other countries are starting to glimpse what life in the Functioning Core is like -- and to contrast it with the 7th-century life in the Non-Integrating Gap offered by al-Qaeda and the Shiite Twelvers.
In a shocking and wholly unanticipated development, it turns out that there is only one region where support for suicide attacks on innocent civilians has not dropped at all... the Palestinian territory:
But support for suicide bombings is widespread among Palestinians, the report said, with 41 percent saying such attacks are often justified while another 29 percent say they can sometimes be justified. It found that only six percent of Palestinians—the smallest in any Muslim public surveyed—say such attacks are never justified.
Some more findings of the Pew poll:
- In Jordan, Moslems who think of bin Laden as a "world leader" dropped from 56% in 2002 to 20% in 2007.
- Jordanian Moslem support for suicide bombings dropped from 43% to 23%.
- In Lebanon, support for suicide bombings dropped from 79% to 34%.
- In Pakistan, it fell from 33% to 9%.
- In fact, "the report said support for such bombings and terror tactics has dropped since 2002 in seven of the eight countries where data were available."
It is absolutely imperative that we build on this dramatic change, rather than insist (as some still do) that we are at war with the entire ummah ("Moslemdom"). As Moslem countries have more and deeper contact with the West, as they see up close and personally what living in a Taliban or Iranian regime looks like... and yes, as they look at the example of now-democratic Iraq, right in the heart of the Middle East, they are coming to the same conclusion: There is no future in "jihad." The future is to be found, not by fighting modernity, but by embracing it.
And by its very nature, modernity is moderate.
Thus, most Moslems are moderating, which is precisely the predicted effect of edging from Gap to Core: The more a person has invested in society, the less willing he is to support violent revolution and mindless human sacrifice. (We see the same dynamic at play in domestic crime, especially within street gangs.)
Within a decade or so, we may not need to ask where all the Moslem Methodists are, for they will be living all around us. As to whether or not they will be strong enough to break the cycle of martyrdom, that I cannot guess. But with so much at stake, how can we afford not to seize such birds when they knock on the bush?
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, July 24, 2007, at the time of 11:08 PM
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Tracked on July 29, 2007 4:30 PM
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Tracked on June 4, 2009 8:32 PM
The following hissed in response by: LarryD
This is the Islamic Radicals worst nightmare:
The Islamists feel that they have nothing to lose, for the fear of cultural extinction surpasses the fear of physical death. The Islamist dream of theocracy, for example, Osama bin Laden's vision of a restored caliphate, represents what might be the last stand of an endangered culture, something like the Nazi hallucination of Aryan empire. The Islamists have nothing to lose, but they have much to gain: they perceive not only weakness, but also opportunity. Islamic life is dying, but far more slowly than the senile civilization of Western Europe
Education and literacy appear to threaten traditional Muslim social relations. The cliff-like drop in Muslim fertility sets the stage for social crisis a generation from now. Islam threatens to join the list of failed cultures. By using the term "failed culture", I do not mean to deprecate Islam as a religion or Muslims individually. Islamist writers, starting with Sayyid Qutb, as quoted above, say precisely the same thing. It is not surprising that Islamist radicals are obsessed with survival. Although some of their behavior appears irrational, their underlying premise is not. The Islamist revival responds to the Muslim countries' failure to adapt to the modern world.
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
I think you are right here and I also think that some people in the west need to stop thinking of Islam as the Borg. They are not all the same.
The following hissed in response by: lsusportsfan
Great post. Too bad we are not hearing more about this. OF course then the people on the left and yes event he right might have to consider the Bush view as giving some results
The above hissed in response by: lsusportsfan at July 26, 2007 11:04 AM
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