News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Who's Afraid of Osama bin-Laden?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Who's Afraid of Osama bin-Laden?

Recent speeches by Pres. Bush and his administration have stressed the objectives of al-Qaeda to establish worldwide dominance by re-establishing an Islamic caliphate. While it's true that bin-Laden advocates such a view, most scholars in the Arab world and outside, see it more as a pipe-dream than a potential reality....

One such scholar is Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at the University of Maryland. According to recent polls in the Arab world, he says,

...Al Qaeda was not leading a movement that threatened to mobilize the vast majority of Muslims. ... [A poll by] Zogby International of 3,900 people in six countries - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon - found that only 6 percent sympathized with Al Qaeda's goal of seeking an Islamic state.
As I have stressed over and over, the danger posed by al-Qaeda as a worldwide phenomnon is minimal and easily manageable. Its threat has been overblown by the Bush administration for political purposes.

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