The desperation of Al-Qaeda

The sneering video letter issued by Al Qaeda’s No. 2 proves, if nothing else, that the Islamist terror network is running scared of Barack Obama.

And so they should be: Obama’s commitment to withdraw troops from Iraq and focus them on Afghanistan smashes the central Al-Qaeda thesis that the US seeks to occupy oil-rich Arab lands. But more to the point, his election proves that American democracy is not the sham al-Qaeda claims it to be. If the son of an African man, schooled in Indonesia, can rise from almost nowhere, challenge his own party’s machine and be elected US president on a ticket of change and reform, then democracy really is as described on the packet, not a plaything of money interests. 

Advertisement

So while the video rather desperately tries to undermine Obama’s undoubted popularity on the Arab street, it succeeds only in exposing Al-Qaeda as racists with a twisted view of the world. Suddenly, it feels as if the West is beginning to triumph over Al-Qaeda.

It’s a sobering thought -- but for anyone who reads the Gospels not an unsurprising one -- that the election of Barack Obama is as effective a riposte to 9/11 as the war in Iraq was a disastrous one. In the minds of angry Muslims across the world, the Iraq war has seemed to prove the Al-Qaeda thesis. The election of Obama now spectacularly disproves it.

Thinking of what each has involved -- the astonishing destructiveness of the war, the tidal wave of hope and solidarity of the election -- it becomes clearer that means and ends are much the same thing. Peace does not come through violence; order is not secured by disorder; you don’t get to the Promised Land by burning up the fields of its neighbours. Or as Jesus rhetorically asked: "How can Satan drive out Satan?"

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
9 years 5 months ago
Do not be deceived or fooled by Al-Qaeda. Evil is very deceptive.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The appointments are part of an ongoing effort to give a greater role to women in the work of the Roman Curia offices, the central administration of the Catholic church.
Gerard O’ConnellApril 21, 2018
Ivette Escobar, a student at Central American University in San Salvador, helps finish a rug in honor of the victims in the 1989 murder of six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter on the UCA campus, part of the 25th anniversary commemoration of the Jesuit martyrs in 2014. (CNS photo/Edgardo Ayala) 
A human rights attorney in the United States believes that the upcoming canonization of Blessed Oscar Romero in October has been a factor in a decision to revisit the 1989 Jesuit massacre at the University of Central America.
Kevin ClarkeApril 20, 2018
Journalists photograph the lethal injection facility at San Quentin State Prison in California in 2010. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
In California, Catholic opponents of the death penalty are trying to protect the largest population of inmates awaiting execution in the Western Hemisphere.
Jim McDermottApril 20, 2018
Photo: the Hank Center at Loyola University Chicago
Bishop McElroy said that Catholics must embrace “the virtues of solidarity, compassion, integrity, hope and peace-building.”