Neighborhoods like this, teaming with devout Muslims, may have been considered fertile ground for Al Qaeda's goal of building a global movement. But six years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden's group appears to have attracted few loyal followers here. In fact, the militants who once reigned in Imbaba are all but invisible.
What has happened in Egypt represents an overlooked success story in much of the Arab world. While Muslim anger toward the US and its Arab allies has soared in the post-9/11 war on terrorism, and the Iraq war has been a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, there is little chance militant Islamists can seize power power in any of the region's established states.
But this has come at a price. The Egyptian story is one of how an effective, often brutal, security establishment has pushed militant Islamists to the fringes.
Well, if a society develops a large Muslim population with radicals who believe the literal texts of Islam then such a society either has to suppress these radicals in ways that the American Civil Liberties Union would find evil or such a society has to submit to the will of the most fundamentalist Muslims. To Western societies that are letting in substantial numbers of Muslim immigrants I ask which of these two paths are you planning to take.
Western democracies aren't up to using the tactics that worked in Egypt. Try to imagine the British government rounding up lots of young Muslim men because they all attend a mosque whose leader preaches that all non-believers should be forced to submit.
The role of government repression also can't be discounted in controlling these movements. In the 1990s, the government made thousands of arrests, sometimes rounding up men because of the mosque they prayed at or because they wore long beards. Also, there have been credible reports of torture of militants in Egyptian prisons.
The reason we in the West can get away with avoiding such tactics is that Muslims in the West are still relatively few in number. But in the longer run if Muslims in Western countries win the battle of the womb they will become so numerous that Western democracies will either cease to be liberal or cease to be democracies or both.
The chief threat the Muslims pose is demographic. They aren't going to field massive armies and march into Europe. They are too poor, technologically backward, and unorganized to pull off such a feat. No Muslim nation is going to fire off nuclear weapons in our direction because the leaders of Muslim countries are not suicidal. Leaders of Muslim nations aren't going to turn over nuclear weapons to terrorist groups for a similar reason. If the nukes ever get used and traced back to country of origin then that would become a country to evacuate as fast as you can manage.
Since the chief threat posed by Islam is demographic our top response should be to keep Muslims out of Western countries. People in the war party who oppose an end to Muslim immigration to the West are part of the problem and not part of the solution as they fancy themselves to be.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2007 September 10 10:07 PM Cultural Wars Religious|