At first it seemed like a scene all too common in the Middle East. On Nov. 9, suicide bombers walked into three hotels and blew themselves up, killing at least 56 people and injuring about 100 more. Predictably, Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the horrific acts. Et cetera.
The location of the attacks and the reaction to them, however, suggest they were not just another unfortunate occurrence in an explosive region, but rather a representation of a possible turning point in the Arab world.
These attacks took place not in Iraq or Syria or any of the particularly volatile Middle Eastern countries, but in Jordan. Many were surprised that this small nation of only six million, which generally manages to keep itself out of the news, was targeted. They shouldn't be. Jordan is a country of moderate Muslims whose king, Abdullah II, has close ties to the United States-both of which are offenses that the jihadists deem punishable by death.
If this attack were like any other, the reaction would be one of blame placed on America's foreign policy. One could just see the isolationists in our own country saying, "See, told you so. This would never have happened if Bush hadn't launched this imperialistic war."
But, we haven't been hearing that because something unusual happened in the hours and days following the tragedy. In the streets of Jordan, angry protestors took to the streets, chanting "Death to Al-Qaeda!" and "Burn in hell, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi!" Many Jordanians were quoted as saying these attacks were an assault on Islam and a warping of religion. Amen.
One of the strongest quotes from a Jordanian after the attacks came from King Abdullah II, who said, "We will pursue those criminals and those who are behind them, and we will reach them wherever they are . We will pull them from their holes and bring them to justice."
Pull them from their holes and bring them to justice? I know what you're asking yourself: why is the good king taking a cue on speech from President Bush? No word yet on whether the king was wearing a cowboy hat when he made the comments.
Jordan represents more than just a moderate country and ally to America.
It shows that a nation need not abandon its faith to condemn terrorists, show a commitment to human rights and embrace modernity.
And Jordan is a perfect example of the mindset that is needed throughout the Middle East, from Damascus to Baghdad, in order to change the region for the better. Groups like Al-Qaeda prey on hostility, ignorance and instability.
Therefore, a vast Muslim community united against such fundamentalists is necessary to defeat them.
If they're unpopular, they cannot win. And if they keep blowing up their fellow Muslims, they are not going to be popular much longer.
Many Muslims in the Middle East who wish to worship at the local mosque without the fear of being obliterated feel their faith is being given a bad name by those who reject reason.
Let the West throw our support behind the Jordanians and Iraqis in the name of peace. It's in our interests too.
Patrick Boyle is a sophomore organizational and political communication major and a contributer to The Beacon.