Algeria: Why People Like Islamic Radicals

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November 4,2008: Police have shut down, for the moment,  the Islamic terrorists, but not the conditions that created them. The government has made no progress in dealing with its corruption and inefficiency. The current president, nearing the end of his second term, wants to change the constitution so that he can keep running for election. The two term restriction was one of the few popular reforms, as it prevented a corrupt politician from becoming  a "democratic" president-for-life via rigged elections. The public is responding to this by again backing religious conservatives.  Radical clerics are increasingly demanding that Algerian Moslems take extreme actions "in defense of Islam." The 100,000 Algerian Christians are being persecuted with increasing vigor, and even threatened with death (if they converted from Islam). Moslems that do not practice Islam vigorously enough are persecuted, and sometimes killed. The government has fought back, closing 42 radical Mosques last year, and banned 53 radical imams from preaching. Like many Moslem countries, the government pays for the maintenance of mosques, and their imams. Although there are no examples of an Islamic dictatorship bringing honest and efficient government, Algerians are desperate for a solution to their decades of corrupt and inept government. Despite over a decade of Islamic terrorism, that left over 200,000 dead, and only ended in the last few years, an increasing number of Algerians are still willing to elect Islamic conservatives who promise clean government, and strict enforcement of Islamic lifestyle rules. About a third of the population (mainly in the cities) is very much against this, thus setting up the atmosphere for another civil war.

October 31, 2008: Two Austrians, held captive by al Qaeda in neighboring Mali for eight months, have been freed. The terrorists first demanded the release of al Qaeda members held prisoner in the region. When that was refused, they demanded up to $10 in ransom. That demand has apparently been negotiated down. The Austrian government insisted that it did not pay a ransom, and obtained the release of the couple via the efforts of the Mali government.

 

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