I read the latest David Brooks column this morning on the bus, and I found it fascinating. I would link you to it, but "The New York Times" is now charging for online columns, which is such a bore.
Brooks was discussing a major problem facing poor Muslim communities in Western cities like Paris. He describes the two paths available to young Muslim men--gangsta and fundamentalist. Some try their best to conform to the urban, hip-hop culture in an attempt to assimilate into the mainstream, while others end up believers in the more extreme forms of the faith.
Either way, it creates serious tension within the communities and it also causes the youth to rebel against those choices, wanting more for themselves than selling counterfeit CD's on the street near Gare du Nord or enrolling in a madrassa.
This is contributing to the violence we are seeing on the streets of Paris, and in a way is a factor in the attacks last night in Amman. It has been reported that one American was killed in those bombings, and that Israelis were evacuated out of harm's way after a warning came in by fax. In other words, the likely targets of the bombings--Americans and Israelis--were not the primary casualties. Many Arabs were killed or injured.
I heard a terrorism analyst on our air last night explaining that for fundamentalists, the extreme members of Islam, anyone who is not a believer in that form of faith can be considered an infidel. This Muslim on Muslim violence has the potential to ignite a civil war in Islam, as moderates struggle to define themselves as individuals apart from the boxes Brooks illuminates--gangsta or extremist.
Jordan is viewed as a moderate nation with Western sympathies, and as being too cooperative in the U.S. effort against Iraq. That nation also has been a partner for peace with Israel, a more legitimate peace than the other Arab nations have found. These factors make Jordan a target despite the fact that it is largely populated by Muslims.
Today we'll talk about that with a panel of experts.
Later, a new NBC and Wall Street Journal poll has some dismal and sobering news for the Bush administration. Approval ratings are at an all time low, and many Americans believe that high ranking members of the administration--I won't say his name but it rhymes with Mick Laney--had a role in the CIA leak scandal. What does this mean for the rest of this second term? We'll discuss it with Craig Crawford and Jack Burkman.
And I will bring you a feel good story, Marine Corps moms who have a project called Operation Santa, sending gifts to our men and women serving in Iraq. They need your help, as well. Tune in and I'll tell you how you can make a soldier's Christmas merry and bright. Or visit their website. Here's the link: