Anne Applebaum notes that the terrorists we are seeing lately are from the upper crust. She discusses the widow of the suicide bomber who killed the CIA agents in Afghanistan, a woman who is a well-known author in the Arab world, having written, among other things, a book comparing Osama bin Laden to Che Guevara:
Bayrak is a shining example of what might be called the international jihadi elite: She is educated, eloquent, has connections across the Islamic world — Istanbul, Amman, Peshawar — yet is not exactly part of the global economy. She shares these traits not only with her husband — a doctor who was the son of middle-class, English-speaking Jordanians — but also with others featured recently in the news. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, for example, grew up in a wealthy Nigerian family and studied at University College London before trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane on Christmas Day. Ahmed Saeed Omar Sheikh (“Sheikh Omar”) was born in Britain and studied at elite high schools there and in Pakistan and dropped out of the London School of Economics before murdering American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan in 2002. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan was born in Arlington, graduated from Virginia Tech and did his psychiatric residency at Walter Reed before killing 13 people in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood.
These people are not the wretched of the Earth. Nor do they have much in common, sociologically speaking, with the illiterate warlords of Waziristan. They haven't emerged from repressive Islamic societies such as Iran, or been forced to live under extreme forms of sharia law, as in Saudi Arabia. On the contrary, they are children of ambitious, “Westernized” parents who sacrificed for their education — though they are often people who, for one reason or another, didn't “make it,” or didn't feel comfortable, in their respective societies. Perhaps it sounds strange, but they remind me of the early Bolsheviks, who were also educated, multinational and ambitious, and who also often lacked the social cachet to be successful. Lenin's family, for example, clung desperately to its status on the lowest rung of the czarist aristocracy.
With that bin Laden and Che association and the Bolshevik comparison, could radical Islam be the new Communism? That is to say, a revolutionary ideology to challenge that of Western democracy?