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October 08, 2004


Issandr El Amrani

Thanks for the link. I'm a big fan of the Aardvark and have been preparing a long piece on your coverage of Qaradawi and my own experience with islamonline.net among other things. I was actually wondering if you knew anything about Qaradawi's role in Algeria in the 1980s. Some communist Algerian exiles here told me that while he played a semi-official religious role there, notably on state TV, he was one of the major forces in the rise of the Algerian Islamist movement. Although intellectually that is probably not the case, financially and in terms of links to Gulf funding there may be a point. But where do I find out about it?


Regarding Kramer, aren't a couple of things he says grossly misleading if not false, regardless of one's ideology?

Here's an example.

for several decades, the United States looked to "moderate" Islamists to help counter the Soviet threat. Miles Copeland, CIA operative, wrote in his book The Game of Nations about how the United States, circa 1950s, tried to find an Iraqi "holy man" to carry the anti-Communist message. And there was the cooperation with Islamists that flourished after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.


Some of the Islamists we involved ourselves with, mostly via the Pakistanis, turned out to support international terrorism. Gulbuddin Hekmatyar would be Exhibit A. Other Islamists didn't, such as Abdul Haq. The key, it seems to me, is to be able to distinguish one kind of Islamist from another.

Does anyone here have confidence that Martin Kramer could do so?

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