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July 08, 2005

TOM FRIEDMAN:

Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists - if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings - or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way - by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.

And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village. . . .

The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day - to this day - no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden.

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE: Cam Edwards emails that "Friedman is wrong . . . kinda." He observes:

Back in March, Spanish clerics issued a fatwa against Osama bin Laden. While it's not a huge group by any stretch of the imagination, it is the largest Muslim group in Spain.

Good point.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Paul Schmidt says Friedman is right:

If there isn't a Million Muslim March this weekend, if there aren't crowds of muslims chanting and holding signs, "not in our name", then doubt as to the existence of moderate muslims will grow, and grow quickly.

I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

I do too. Meanwhile, Dick Aubrey writes about Friedman: "He's late to the party. We will win the WOT. The question is...will we respect ourselves in the morning?" So far we're waging the kindest, gentlest war in history. That could change, of course.

Reader Don Hertzmark says that Friedman is behind the curve, and should have been writing this stuff in the 1990s. "Letís see some of those good British Muslims lead the cops to the bombersí dens, and then I will believe that something has changed. My really close Muslim friends, mostly Indonesian, are quiet about these things, that is about all you can get. They want the government to repress or jail the Jihad boys, but they do not want to put themselves on the line with their peers, and these are our friends."