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April 13, 2005


Ian Welsh

It's not only explained by poverty, but it's one factor. Islam - and hard line Islam, has really made significant strides in these slums in many countries - people without hope will find it. If they can't find hope for this life - they'll find hope for the next. Same thing with meaning - religion gives meaning to life, and if you can't find it, you'll get it there. These countries are often opressive as well - because being opressive is one way to stay in power when everyone's unhappy with you, which they probably are if you've dispossessed them and can barely feed them, let alone give them jobs. But the point was tangential - except for the part that they're a source of violence, crime and etc...

As an aside - terrorism as practiced by Al-Qaeda isn't random violence.


Yay! My first comment! You win a prize!

You're right about the "random violence" bit. It was loose language. By "random violence," I meant violence that would primarily affect people without necessary direct connection to the political matter at hand, not "randomly selected targeting," which, as you correctly say, does not characterize al-Qaida.

Yes, hard line fanatical Islam (and I say this as a Muslim myself, using "fanatical" to mean a particular repressive interpretation), has its expression in areas of poverty, but extreme forms of tradition are always prevalent among the suffering. The question is whether this itself has the political consequence you ascribe to it.

And yes, I recognize it was tangential to your point, but when I see it, I sort of have to remind people of what I feel to be its noncentrality.

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