Here we go again, Tom…

In today’s New York Times, Thomas Friedman writes yet another article repeating his recommendation for the Arab and Muslim leaders to unequivocally condemn suicide bombers. He repeats his question: “where is the outrage in the muslim world”? 

If Friedman thinks King Abdullah’s condemnation would deter  suicide bombers, then Friedman is not the middle east expert he purports to be. Other than igniting civil unrest by giving  some factions in the middle east one more reason to fight about, the king would achieve little. The radicals that commit these heinous crimes are not fond of the king by any measure. Saudi Arabia brand of Islam is not popular even among mainstream muslims. Saudi Arabia’s influence and prestige derive mostly from the cash reserve they swim in and not from their superior religious , intellectual, or democratic heritage.

Only one dimension of this problem is religious. The highest religious authorities and figures that speak for the muslim faith in Egypt (Al-Azhar), Iraq (Najaf), and Iran (Kom) have repeatedly condemned these acts (Juan Cole did a good job  documenting this here).   They have expressed their opinion about the subject unambiguously. And Friedman has repeatedly ignored their denunciation.

The second dimension to this problem is political. In addition to the Arab and Muslim leaders,  the united states have a big role to play here. And since  Friedman is in the business of recommending to others what they should do, here is an easy, cheap, and quick way to greatly reduce  suicide bombings. Stop bombing innocent people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. Stop bombing their weddings and bulldozing their homes. Stop undermining the integrity of their homelands. And most of all, stop propping up and  supporting the unpopular and undemocratic  regimes and brutal tyrants of the middle east.


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