Bin Laden Is Still Popular in the Arab World. Why?

(Wall Street Journal) Bernard Lewis - Bin Laden remains an enormously popular figure not only with the extremists and radicals who form his main support group, but in much wider circles in the Muslim and more particularly in the Arab world. He responds, with words and with actions, to the seething resentment that has been growing for many years in the Muslim world, and offers some hope of vengeance and even of ultimate triumph. But something else is involved, which marks him off from earlier exponents of pan-Arab, pan-Islamic, and other revolutionary movements against Western domination. His eloquence is a skill much admired and appreciated in the Arab world. He is not a ruler, and therefore not tainted with tyranny and corruption. Bin Laden presents the inspiring spectacle of one who, by his own free choice, has forsaken a life of riches and comfort for one of hardship and danger. Arab governments confront a situation in which they have to choose between offending bin Laden and offending the U.S. In such a dilemma, the choice is not difficult. If they offend Osama, the consequences can be very dire indeed. If they offend the U.S., they will suffer no penalties and may even - if the right people in Washington have their way - receive some reward.

2002-08-27 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive