Sunday, June 01, 2008

Zawahiri's favorite wife

"I say to you ... (I have) tasted the bitterness of American brutality: my favorite wife's chest was crushed by a concrete ceiling."

So said al Qaeda number two Ayman Al-Zawahiri in an internet response to female would-be suicide bombers. Alas, Zawahiri decreed, their place is not to martyr themselves with TNT, but to stay home and feed the kids.

Better for the west that female extremists aren't added to the militant ranks of the fanatical terror group. Yet, al Qaeda's stance is creating a controversy which would almost seem laughable if not for its dark implications.

How ironic that radical Muslim women are fighting for exactly the freedom and equality that the movement's ideology directly opposes.

The plight of al Qaeda continues to spiral downward, as this controversy pales in comparison to a major rift within radical Islamic circles. As Lawrence Wright explains,

"Al-Qaida is at war. And not just against the West, but with itself...

"It's very profound in the radical edge of it," says Wright, who explores the ideological rift for an article in next week's New Yorker magazine. "Before, moderate Muslims have spoken out against violence in the name of Islam, but now radicals are doing the same thing. And what's fascinating is that they're attacking on two grounds: One is that [violence is] not practical because it hasn't achieved their purposes. And secondly, it's sinful. It is placing the souls of the people who commit this violence in great jeopardy."

Wright tells NPR's Guy Raz that the two players behind the rift are Ayman Al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's No. 2 man, and Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif, also known as Dr. Fadl. Sharif, who wrote al-Qaida's manual for jihad training, recently released a manifesto refuting those principles. The fact that al-Qaida's architect has changed his mind, Wright says, makes violence "harder to justify using that kind of thinking."

The cool air wafting into Zawahiri's cave must seem that much more bone-chilling these days; having to placate Islam's faithfully violent women on the one hand, and refute one of the movement's founding fathers with the other.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

His "favorite wife." How sad.