martes, septiembre 28, 2004

EL ARABISTA Gilles Kepel afirma en su nuevo libro, The War for Muslim Minds: Islam and the West, que a pesar de las imágenes de decapitaciones y violencia, los jihadistas no están ganando, sino muy al contrario:
Kepel believes that the United States has stumbled badly in Iraq, and he's sharply critical of U.S. policies there. But that doesn't mean the jihadists are winning. Quite the contrary, their movement has backfired. Rather than bringing Islamic regimes to power, the holy warriors are creating internal strife and discord. Their actions are killing far more Muslims than nonbelievers.

"The principal goal of terrorism -- to seize power in Muslim countries through mobilization of populations galvanized by jihad's sheer audacity -- has not been realized," Kepel writes. In fact, bin Laden's followers are losing ground: The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been toppled; the fence-sitting semi-Islamist regime in Saudi Arabia has taken sides more strongly with the West; Islamists in Sudan and Libya are in retreat; and the plight of the Palestinians has never been more dire. And Baghdad, the traditional seat of the Muslim caliphs, is under foreign occupation. Not what you would call a successful jihad.

Kepel argues that the insurgents' brutal tactics in Iraq -- the kidnappings and beheadings, and the car-bombing massacres of young Iraqi police recruits -- are increasingly alienating the Muslim masses. No sensible Muslim would want to live in Fallujah, which is now controlled by Taliban-style fanatics. Similarly, the Muslim masses can see that most of the dead from post-Sept. 11 al Qaeda bombings in Turkey and Morocco were fellow Muslims.

A perfect example of how the jihadists' efforts have backfired, argues Kepel, was last month's kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq. The kidnappers announced that they would release their hostages only if the French government reversed its new policy banning Muslim women from wearing headscarves in French public schools. "They imagined that they would mobilize Muslims with this demand, but French Muslims were aghast and denounced the kidnappers," Kepel explained to a Washington audience. He noted that French Muslims took to the streets to protest against the kidnappers and to proclaim their French citizenship.

Kepel believes that the war for Muslim minds may hinge most of all on these European Muslims. In countries such as France, Britain and Germany, large Muslim populations are living in secular, democratic societies. All the tensions and contradictions of the larger Muslim world are compressed into the lives of these European Muslims, but they're free to let the struggle play out in open debate. Thus, it's in Europe that Islam may finally find its accommodation with modern life.
No estoy demasiado seguro de que el papel de los musulmanes europeos sea tan lucido como afirma Kepel; su rechazo al secuestro de los periodistas franceses no fue precisamente multitudinario, y parecían más preocupados porque el mismo ponía en peligro la posibilidad de convencer a las autoridades francesas para que anulen la ley que prohibe los símbolos religiosos en las escuelas públicas.

Sigue echándose en falta una denuncia clara y sin peros de la violencia terrorista en nombre del Islam por parte de los principales representantes en Europa de la fe musulmana y sus seguidores.

Relacionado con esto, es sin duda una buena noticia que las dos cooperantes italianas hayan sido liberadas; sólo espero, por el bien de todos, que no haya sido a cambio del pago de 1 millón de dólares a sus captores, como indican las informaciones aún sin confirmar.