Kinsman: Is Islamist extremism a bigger problem now than it was before 9/11?

By: /
January 21, 2013
Jeremy Kinsman
Former ambassador to the European Union and high commissioner to Britain

In fact, Islamic terrorist attacks in 2012 world-wide were down to a handful, and seven of the 10 notable events were sectarian, four in Iraq, one in China, two in India/Pakistan, virtually no incidents in the West. al-Qaida in Maghreb is a serious regional mestastasis but it’s from a very weakened global organ. The terrorism high point was 2002 and decreases have occurred steadily since. U.S. neo-conservative foundations and Israeli security circles close to Likud see an interest in hyping the notion that the “Arab Spring” has opened the door to al-Qaida opportunities and even takeovers and their claims are faithfully reproduced by the National Post. Of course, there has been a politically consequential widening and deepening of Islamic faith over the MENA region but it should not be regarded as a “problem” unless Arab countries struggling to develop democracies where Islamic parties hold organizational advantages cannot succeed in building inclusively pluralistic political models. Are we helping?