Saturday, July 05, 2008

Violence, Jihad, and Dr. Fadl

This is a month late, but I would highly recommend a fascinating June 2 New Yorker article about Dr. Fadl. It's a lengthy article, but the short version is this: the guy who 20 years ago wrote the book al Qaeda (and other groups) use to justify violent jihad has now written a book arguing that the Koran forbids violence in all but a few situations. This follows the renunciation of violence by the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt a few years ago. The upshot is a heated debate now going on among radical Islamists over the acceptability of violent means to religious ends.

Of course this flies in the face of the wingnut worldview, in which every Muslim is a potential violent jihadist. They could never entertain the idea that even among formerly violent groups there is a strong movement in favor of peace and co-existence.

But then, reading Zawahiri's arguments (on behalf of al Qaeda) against Fadl's revisions, I couldn't help thinking of typical wingnut illogic, of their chest-thumping belligerence and contempt for 'appeasement'. If the wingnuts had been born into the Islamic world, which side of the argument would they be on?