Recent events have shown al-Qaeda’s support eroding even among its core base of radical Islamist extremists, the Los Angeles Times reports today. Muslims have tired of the suicide bombings that kill other Muslims and of the deadly response they get from the West. Looking at the state of the ummah, Muslims have concluded that they were better off before bin Laden decided to kill 3,000 Americans and unleash forces that have changed the face of southwest Asia:
Al Qaeda increasingly faces sharp criticism from once-loyal sympathizers who openly question its ideology and tactics, including attacks that kill innocent Muslims, according to U.S. intelligence officials, counter-terrorism experts and the group’s own communications.
A litany of complaints target Osama bin Laden’s network and its affiliates for their actions in Iraq and North Africa, emphasis on suicide bombings instead of political action and tepid support for, or outright antagonism toward, militant groups pressing the Palestinian cause. …
Such rifts have been emerging for several years, but they have become increasingly contentious lately, in cyberspace and on the streets of some Arab countries. In addition to Zawahiri, Al Qaeda leaders, including Bin Laden himself, have gone on a public relations offensive. In October, Bin Laden asked followers for forgiveness for the deaths of civilians in Iraq.
It isn’t that America has become more beloved by the radicals, but that AQ’s actions — while spectacular — don’t result in improvement for radical Islamists or their positions. In almost every area but Pakistan, they have had to fall back and regroup. In Iraq, which looked promising for a short period, AQ made itself anathema with a bloodthirsty reign of terror over other Muslims, torturing and murdering men, women, and children to impose their drug-fueled version of shari’a. In Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, and especially Iraq and Afghanistan, they have sundered their credibility in thousands of deliberate attacks on Muslims.
Voices in even conservative Muslim nations have begun publicly challenging Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Saudi cleric and Wahhabist Salman Awdah published an open letter to Osama asking how many more women and children were going to be killed for AQ. In London, sometimes considered a hotbed of Islamist extremism, former extremists have now organized to push back against AQ and its jihadist message. Zawahiri had to recently conduct a Q&A session to address the complaints of the ummah regarding AQ’s activities, providing answers which left everyone laughing (The deaths of any innocents were the result of “unintentional error or out of necessity”).
AQ has been in operation for 15 years now. Any rational look at the numbers of Muslims it has killed and the amount of territory it has lost for radical jihadists should indicate that it’s been an abject failure. Muslims have been hoodwinked by Osama’s murderous theology, and a few of them have slowly begun to realize it.