Beware the Jihadi Intellectuals

Al-Balawi, Hasan, Abdulmutallab didn't rise from desperation of poverty
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2010 4:41 AM CST
Defne Bayrak, the Turkish wife of Jordanian doctor Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, praises her husband's "martyrdom."    (AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta)

(Newser) – Educated, well-off Muslims who espouse jihad are far removed from illiterate Taliban warlords in almost every way—but they're proving to be just as much of a threat, writes Anne Applebaum. People like 31-year-old Defne Bayrak, proud wife of the suicide bomber who killed eight CIA agents, are eloquent, intelligent, and have international connections, Applebaum writes in the Washington Post.

The jihadi elite are reminiscent of the "early Bolsheviks, who were also educated, multinational, and ambitious, and who also often lacked the social cachet to be successful," Applebaum writes. They spread their arguments against the West in mosques, print, and chatrooms, but "are they hearing enough counterarguments?" Applebaum asks. "Are we helping the people who make the counterarguments? I suspect that they don't and I'm certain that we aren't—nearly a decade after Sept. 11—and that has to change."

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