Is Violent Jihad Starting To Lose Its Allure To Radical Islamists?

In the past, moderate Muslim’s have condemned violence in the name of Islam. What’s surprising to hear now, is, more radical Muslims are doing it, too.

Lawrence Wright, author of The Looming Tower , (a book about al Qaeda’s road to 9/11) was recently interviewed by NPR, and had this to say:

… what’s fascinating is that they’re attacking (terrorism) on two grounds: One is that [violence is] not practical because it hasn’t achieved their purposes. And secondly, it’s sinful. It is placing the souls of the people who commit this violence in great jeopardy.”

Wright tells NPR’s Guy Raz that the two players behind the rift are Ayman Al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida’s No. 2 man, and Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif, also known as Dr. Fadl. Sharif, who wrote al-Qaida’s manual for jihad training, recently released a manifesto refuting those principles. (Here).

The fact that al-Qaida’s architect has changed his mind, Wright says, makes violence “harder to justify using that kind of thinking.”

He says al-Qaida is unraveling in some respects.

Wright goes on to say al Qaeda, much reduced from what they were, and clearly losing in Iraq, are losing popularity all across the Muslim world because Muslims tend to be the main victims.

I suppose for some, it’s still okay as long as Christians, Hindus, and Jews are the only victims, but progress is progress.

Wright also says

… people are beginning to question the use of violence not only in the case of al-Qaida but even in resistance movements in Palestine.”

Could we be on the verge of a major sea change in the way radical Muslims view their cause, and how to reach their goals? And if we are…don’t we have the Iraq war to thank for it?

Although there will always be those who don’t believe that Iraq was a proper battleground in the war on terror, there are others (like Abu Musab Zarqawi) who begged to differ.

And the truth of the matter is, the insurgents in Iraq who were sympathetic to al Qaeda’s cause, and saw themselves as brothers in arms with them against the American invaders, needed to see the animalistic brutality of al Qaeda up close and personal to see the light.

Terrorism just ain’t cool.

And the more al Qaeda in Iraq continues its method of operation, the more the Iraqi people turn against it.

If radical Muslims from around the world, are looking at terrorism, now as the wrong way to go about reaching their goals, (in part because of what they’ve observed in Iraq), then I think that would have to be considered a positive by-product of the Iraq War.

Related:

And very interesting, via Weasel Zippers:

al Qaeda discusses losing Iraq.