Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The polarisation of Islam
This will undoubtedly get lost in the midst for the horrors in London, but it's notable nonetheless. The Egyptian Ambassador to Iraq, Ihab al-Sherif, has been murdered by his Al Qaeda captors, who stated:

"We announce in the al-Qaeda in Iraq that the verdict of Allah against the ambassador of the infidels, the ambassador of Egypt, has been carried out. Thank Allah."

Egypt has a long history with Islam, and has one of the main states of the Muslim Brotherhood, and this killing shows the growing polarisation of the Muslim world. Whilst recent Islamic militant fanaticism has influenced many Muslims to become more militant, it has also brought moderate Muslims to turn their backs on their more fanatical members. Egypt is an Islamic country that has tried to tread the middle moderate line, having strong and full diplomatic relations with Israel (Ihab al-Sherif was previosuly Egypt's Ambassador to Israeli) as well as with the West. The hatred by which Al Qaeda refers to Egypt, as "infidels", and the murdering of a high-ranking government official illustrates this polarisation between the moderates and fanatics within Islam.