Muslim extremism

(See also counterterrorism.)
Right-wingers vastly exaggerate the threat from terror attacks and demonize Muslims.

India's Hindu-extremist RSS, the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, the Lord's Resistance Army of Uganda, and Colombia's FARC (a hard-drug smuggler) are seldom mentioned by Republican politicians worrying about terrorists, though all these movements are violent and have threatened US interests.

Advocates of the "war on terror" fantasize about the Muslim world as a Soviet Union-type challenge to the US.

In fact, the countries with majority Muslim populations (Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Pakistan, etc.) are mostly allies of the US.

Imperial occupations benefit only the military-industrial complex and political elites pursuing American hegemony.

The anti-Muslim rhetoric is bigotry and fear-mongering.

Muslims may constitute a third of humankind by 2050 and will possess much of the world's resources... We'd be smarter to play nice.

In particular, Al Qaeda has at most a few thousand members. It holds no territory and its constituent organizations have been roundly defeated in Egypt, Algeria, and other Muslim nations. Its command and control networks have been disrupted.

Most threats now come from amateur copycats. Al Qaeda has no prospect whatsoever of taking over any state in the Muslim world. It probably would be dead altogether if Bush had not poured gasoline on the flames with his large-scale invasions and occupations.

For John McCain to proclaim that Al Qaeda is a bigger threat to US security than was the Soviet Union which had thousands of nuclear warheads aimed at this country, is to enter Alice's Wonderland.

Few Muslims are either violent or fundamentalist; most are traditionalist, mystic, modernist or secularist. Murder rates in the Muslim world are remarkably low.

It would help if we stopped insulting Muslims by calling their religion "fascist."

-- excerpted from The Nation, 11/19/2007