Bin laden's death & Kurdish Islamic parties' silence - By Shwan Zulal

Bin Laden death is welcomed by the majority of the Kurdish people because Kurdistan had its fair share of extremism in the form of Ansar Al-Islam and others. They like many other Islamic extremist groups were inspired by Bin Laden's ideology. It is not a surprise that both Islamic opposition parties are trying to keep a low profile and refused make any comments about Geronimo's death, an agreed code name by US army.

Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has quickly reacted to bin laden's death saying: "killing Osama Bin laden eliminates one of the causes of Violence in the world", nevertheless; the Kurdish Islamic parties have so far refused to make any statements.  It begs the question whether, they believe it would be damaging to them in term of support if they welcome his death or political Islam is as extreme as it has ever been in Kurdistan.

The Egyptian Brotherhood may not be ideologically miles apart from Bin Laden. However, they recognise, by staying silent or condemning his death would damage their prospect of being a major player in Egypt's future. 
The question remains as to why the Kurdish parties have so far chose to stay silent on the matter. It is obvious that if they were happy about Bin Laden's death, would have aired their opinions straight away, as it is a popular thing to say within Kurdistan and the world. However, refusing to say anything does put a question mark on their political judgments and ideology.

Meanwhile a Norwegian based, Mala Krekar, who was one of the founders of Ansal Al-Islam, is the latest character to emerge and try to publicise himself. He has been under house arrest in Norway and recently gave an interview to a Kurdish TV, sounding like a like a broken man. He has been trying to tell people he is a changed person, but given his history, it is hard to believe him.

Krekar once worked with and was part of the Islamic Movement leadership as well as been associated with other Islamic organisations. He has always been the most extreme elements within the Islamic movements in Kurdistan therefore, the mainstream Islamic parties in Kurdistan are all trying to distance themselves from him. They know that his association would put off the majority of public and they would risk being labelled as extremist.
In the last days of the protest, many moderate supporters have shied away from attending and vocally supporting the protests. This was partly due to an effort by both incumbent parties to give the impression that the opposition Islamic parties are trying to take over Kurdistan Region and turn it into "Tora Bora" as one Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, senior official said. People like Krekar have ebbed away protesters enthusiasm and gave the authorities an excuse to accuse protesters of extremism. Speaking to activist and people who supported the protests from the beginning, many feel sceptical about the future. One of the main issues, which kept cropping up, was about the involvement of the Islamic parties in recent protests and fear of them trying to hijack people's revolution. The Islamic parties were very active in the protests and they tried to Islamises the protest by copying the Egyptian protests and having mass prayers in Maidani Azadi (Sara Square) on Fridays as well as clerics making speeches. This had a negative effect on the overall support for the protests and the authorities have seized on it.  It is true to say that majority of Kurdish people are Muslims and somewhat practice Islam, but there is no appetite within the community for political Islamic having influence on their lives.
The Islamic parties in Kurdistan ought to come clean and acknowledge Bin Laden's death as a good step forward. After all, the world could only be a better place without people like Bin Laden preaching hatred and death.


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May 3, 2011
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