Interviewer 1: We’ll start with questions and please say, who you are and where you’re from and…
Interviewer 2: Thank you. As I expected that this, what you said and I look forward to reading your book. This is a tribute to the depth of your analysis and what we expect from you. That’s even more in the future. But I have a question, a fundamental question, not to coin a phrase. You talked about the al-Qaida, you talked about the Taliban and you’ve drawn a distinction, nationalist another aim and al-Qaida who are driven by Jihadism and so forth, of course we know the line is a little blurred. I would contend that there’s another subgroup the main recruiting ground of those who lacked for decades, that’s even more, the basic social services, recognition. I’m talking about the poor, underprivileged, who are a constant recruiting ground for these new services. My question to you is that, you know, we see of this two-pronged strategy on one side, the coercive side, and the other side provides the services. Is it the latter aspect providing the services to these groups, is it a workable solution or is it something which is stop gap? Is it too much water which is flowing under the bridge? Where do you see the future of that particular area given the existence of this third subgroup?
Interviewee: Thank you. That’s a very good, very important question that I don’t think is brought up enough. It is a fundamental fact that part of the reason why these Islamist organizations, whether it be Hamas or Hezbollah or the Muslim Brotherhood or the Taliban for that matter, have so much support and popularity is because they provide services that their government simply do not provide. Let’s be absolutely frank here. It is precisely the lack of economic and social and political development that has accounted for the rise of Islamist parties and it is this sort of lack of any kind of economic and social development that is directly responsible for these Islamist forms of violence. Now keep in mind I keep saying this because I do want to make a distinction between the kind of people who are attracted to an Islamist group and the kind of people who are attracted to a Jihadist group. It’s absolutely true that Islamists groups, who after all are driven by local grievances, who have local concerns, who have nationalist ambitions, are going to be very appealing to people within their own borders who feel left behind by society, whose dignity, whose identity is being repressed, who have no hope of economic or social development and who feel politically disenfranchised, who feel economically marginalized. And when you look at a group, an Islamist group that seems to be fighting on your behalf for those immediate material needs that you don’t have, that is a very appealing thing and so, you know, why is it that a Palestinian is willing to strap a bomb to his body and go after Israelis, it’s for local concerns.
It’s precisely that sense of deprivation that motivates people to join Islamist groups, to support Islamist groups and even to support Islamist violence. Not so when it comes to Jihadism. You know, one of the things that has left so many Americans scratching their heads is why is it that, you know, these people who join al-Qaida are all middle class and well educated and they have PhD’s, they’re doctors, they’re engineers, they’re lawyers, they’re people who spent enormous amount of time in Europe and in the United States. Some of them are distinctively European, you know, the 7/7 bombers who had South Asian backgrounds were British. They weren’t born in Pakistan; they were born in the UK. Why is that? Well, it’s a very simple reason because Jihadism, as a global phenomenon, one who’s Utopian ideology involves, as I say, recreating the world, refashioning the globe as a single world order is an ideology that makes no sense to poor people, to disenfranchised people. You know, I mean, the simplest way that I can put it is that if you’re a Palestinian living atop a garbage heap that used to be your house in Gaza, what do you care about the world? You know, you couldn’t care less about refashioning the globe in some Utopian order. What you care about is Gaza. What you care about is Palestine, your family, your community. The kind of mind set that it would take to find these kinds of Utopian globalist ideals appealing, requires a certain level of education, requires a certain, sort of, world view which is why the kind of people who are drawn to Jihadism and indeed to Jihadist violence, tend to be well educated people.