Even Jihadists Get the Blues

Ask how Al-Qaida — the organization — is doing, and you'll get a range of answers. It's stronger, it's weaker, it's down, but not out. Today, we're asking Peter Bergen about his opinion — the renowned terrorism expert says Al-Qaida is certainly different post-nine-eleven and post-Iraq, and it's experiencing pockets of dissent within its ranks. In a recent article in the New Republic he explores some of these pockets — he talks with a few former jihadists about their beef with Bin Laden. And we'll talk with him, and a former jihadist*, today, too.

*Needless to say, this description is a wide and varied one. For instance, I doubt that former Al-Qaida members put it on their resume. This particular guest was referred to us by Mr. Bergen.



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Question for the former jihadist. When forced to choose Islam or death by beheading, is it necessary to state which kind Sunni or Shiite at that moment? And isn't that kind of a trick question depending on who's holding the sword?

Sent by MO | 2:11 PM | 6-10-2008

I've had an idea for a while which I think would help de-legitimize Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Every time there is a suicide bomb in Iraq or anywhere else, the news report should state "Today 40 innocent Muslims were murdered in a bombing in a market place in Basra," or whatever place the bombing might have taken place

Sent by Ed Baker | 2:40 PM | 6-10-2008

Love this topic. I'm always struck by religious folks are quick to point out that I, as an agnostic, somehow don't have a moral compass. The idea that because I don't go to church on the weekend, I've somehow lost my ability to tell right from wrong. The idea of an internal sense of goodness seems like a transcendent idea that has at least as much value as whether I put a dollar in the basket on Sunday morning.

Sent by Emily CoBabe-Ammann | 3:52 PM | 6-10-2008

I wonder if a more or less open discussion of tactics and strategy among Jihadist organizations will strengthen rather than weaken such organizations. The label of Islamofacist is such a misnomer, implying top down dictatorial organization rather than a loose collection of peers, self organized around an ideology and a world view.

I would not write them off quite so quickly. This movement is arguing about tactics, not about the worth of the struggle.

Sent by Stephen T Wishnevsky | 10:31 PM | 6-10-2008

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