Letter: After the bombs

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As someone from a Muslim background and with a keen interest in Africa, I condemn the three bomb attacks in Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Cape Town. Yet it seems that what is on the rise is not so much Islamic fundamentalism but anti-Muslim sentiment.

Islamic fundamentalism has not been able to establish credible or legitimate institutions anywhere; nor has it been able to reconcile ideology with socio-economic change and it cannot point to any successes in increasing national development or welfare anywhere. Its one-time source of inspiration, Iran, no longer spouts the same rhetoric.

Bin Laden and people like him do not and will not enjoy Muslim support all over the world because Muslims are not a homogeneous lot bent on terror.

Yet issues are easily Islamicised and the anti-Muslim sentiment has become a handy and acceptable form of prejudice. This is a great mistake as the real threat to global peace resides elsewhere.

Global economic and political processes are marginalising parts of the world. Countries which are not on the development train may well produce forces which are anti-modern and anti-development and which espouse fundamentalist visions.

The way to prevent these developments will not be by demonising people and bombing them or by supporting agents of exclusiveness like Netanyahu's Israel. Rather, the self-appointed policeman of the world, the USA, needs to promote itself to detective status and identify paths to a more inclusive world.