When Mahmoud says Al Qaeda does not belong to Islam, he is not speaking theologically. I’m afraid Al Qaeda does belong to Islam if you look at it that way. But he is right that Al Qaeda does not belong to Islam as it is currently lived by the people in his community.Ain't that the truth.
Sheik Abdul Sattar Abu Risha made similar points, a bit more eloquently, to Johns Hopkins University Professor Fouad Ajami: “Our American friends had not understood us when they came. They were proud, stubborn people and so were we. They worked with the opportunists, now they have turned to the tribes, and this is as it should be. The tribes hate religious parties and religious fakers.”It might also be the case that the tribes will be where Pakistan can sort itself out, if it gets possessed/remains possessed by the opportunists.
Read all of Michael's piece. Most illuminating. Hat tip, Samizdata.