Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Al Zarqawi's rhetoric 

Donald Sensing comments on Al Zarqawi's actions:

"[Zarqawi] is only marginalizing Islamism when he bombs and assassinates Iraqis who support democracy. Increasingly, his claim that such Muslims are really infidels deserving to die is seen as untenable. Mass heresy among millions of Iraqis? Who could possibly have the right credibly to claim that? Not Abu Musab al-Zarqawi nor anyone else. And who will believe it? Not the Iraqis themselves nor millions of their Arab neighbors."
(hat tip: Instapundit) True on one level, but the equation actually makes sense within the context of the last fourteen hundred years of Middle Eastern history. Most Sunnis have traditionally considered Shia to be heretics on theological and doctrinal grounds (the more radical a Sunni Muslim, the more likely he or she will believe that, with the Wahhabi bin Ladenites topping the list: "We demand from the Shiite youth that they return to the book of God and the Sunna of Muhammad" - Al Qaeda spokesman, Al Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Najdi). Now, which group in Iraq is pushing the hardest for the election and is expected to generate the highest turnout? The Shias, of course. So once a heretic, always a heretic, and what Al Zarqawi is really saying is this: my fellow Sunnis - by casting a ballot you will become just like them. This is desperate rhetoric; after all tens, hundreds of millions of Muslims (mostly Sunnis) around the world do vote in elections, apparently with an untroubled conscience. But right now Al Zarqawi is a desperate man.

While to the Western ears weaned on the soothing melody of the Enlightenment and secularism Al Zarqawi's argument seems preposterous, many - too many - both inside and outside of the Iraq will sadly buy it.


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