The impact of the war on terror....
....is not only broad but deep.
Inayat Bunglawala had just finished his talk on "Islamophobia and the Media" at the London Muslim Center when a man stood and berated him. "Where is your beard and your thobe?" Mr. Bunglawala said the man shouted, referring to the long garment worn by some Muslim men. "How dare you come to the mosque without them. How dare you preach about the new Koran."Previously cowed by the ferocity and violence of the militants, moderate Muslims now seem emboldened by the stedfastness of the coalition presence in Iraq.
Then something unusual happened on that day in January, said Mr. Bunglawala and others who were there. The several Islamic militants in the room were chased outside by the crowd, and a fistfight broke out. The militants, followers of Abu Abdullah, a firebrand imam, quickly retreated. "These jihadis are like schoolhouse bullies," said Mr. Bunglawala, the communications director for the Muslim Council of Britain, the country's largest Muslim organization. "We sense a feeling of enough is enough now."
If the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks plunged the Islamic population in Britain and elsewhere into a state of alarm and dread, then the Iraq war and its aftermath have had an unforeseen consequence here: they have helped galvanize and embolden a core group of mainstream British Muslims to find its voice and make demands.
Mainstream Muslims have lined up against the war and Prime Minister Tony Blair, opposed new restrictive antiterror laws and warned of the dangers of Islamophobia. But they are also speaking out with uncharacteristic fervor against Islamic militants, making sharp moves to isolate them, and working to strengthen ties between moderates and the British establishment.
Perhaps this is in no small part due to Fallujah. Fallujah proved that the militants' power was a phantasm, an eidolon constructed from ancient myths of Saracen prowess, embellished with strident assertions and pretentious braggadocio.
When faced with real power, American Marines who carried the fight to the center of their "caliphate", the militant leadership ran, abandoning their young, impressionable followers to die at the end of an American projectile. As the bullets, shells and lethal fragments entered the bodies of those young men, the power of the terrorists died with them, exposed for all the world to see as the fantasy it has always been a figment of the sick imagination of fevered minds.