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February 15, 2003

Sermons that resound with the clash of civilisations : Muslims, gathered in Mecca for the haj pilgrimage, are told to confront the enemy

After you read this article and what has been preaced at Mecca you may have to re-think any distinctions between the militants and moderates of Islam
[...]Even at the paler end of the Islamic spectrum, hostility to American policy is fierce. At a seminar sponsored by the website IslamOnLine, a group of greying Egyptian Islamist intellectuals disputed whether America is actually warring against Islam, but agreed that jihad against military forces invading or occupying any Muslim country, including Iraq, is legitimate. The website's on-line fatwa service asserts that it is a sin for the Iraqi opposition to collaborate with infidels in order to overthrow their government.

The dissenting voice in Muslim opinion comes from that opposition. Albeit with reluctance, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, the leading Iraqi Shia opposition group, has accepted the need for American help in toppling the regime. And when Shia authorities in Iraq issued a fatwa last year urging Muslims to defend the country against aggressors, scholars in exile were quick to dismiss the ruling as having been forced under duress.

Like most people, whatever their faith, Muslims do not generally acquire their political opinions from clerics. Mostly, they do not care much for politics, and do not identify personally with a vast Muslim ummah all that much more than most Christians identify with Christendom. But with religious sensibilities heightened, and with mild-mannered preachers regularly blasting American policy, the voice of Osama bin Laden, heard again this week as he called on Muslims to fight “allies of the devil”, sounds less far-fetched. Muslims hate his methods, but they agree with the message: Yankee go home.[more]