Sinai Bedouin and Islamic Extremism

(New York Times) Michael Slackman - The Melahy Bedouin tribe of northern Sinai is the poorest in the region. Nasser Khamis al-Melahy held great promise for his family when he went to law school, but he never practiced law. Instead, he returned to El Arish and, the authorities say, helped set up an Islamist terrorist cell that has staged five suicide attacks in the Sinai, including the triple bombing in Dahab last month. The police say his terrorist cell, Tawhid and Jihad, was heavily influenced by bin Laden, Zarqawi, and Wahhabism, an austere sect of radical Islam whose roots lie in the Arabian Peninsula. The Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt had worked in Sinai, but it was the arrival of Wahhabism that began to change the local culture. Women have abandoned the traditional Bedouin dress for the far more concealing Islamic gown popular in the Persian Gulf.

2006-05-08 00:00:00

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