Bin Laden speaks in the vivid language of popular Islamic preachers, and builds on a deep and widespread resentment against the West and local ruling elites identified with it. The lack of formal outlets to express opinion on public concerns has created [a] democracy deficit in much of the Arab world, and this makes it easier for terrorists such as bin Laden, asserting that they act in the name of religion, to hijack the Arab street.
Bin Laden, the Arab “Street,” and the Middle East's Democracy Deficit
Dale F. Eickelman is Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations at Dartmouth College. His most recent book is The Middle East and Central Asia: An Anthropological Approach, 4th ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2002). An earlier version of this article appeared as “The West Should Speak to the Arab in the Street,” Daily Telegraph (London), October 27, 2001.
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Dale F. Eickelman; Bin Laden, the Arab “Street,” and the Middle East's Democracy Deficit. Current History 1 January 2002; 101 (651): 36–39. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/curh.2001.101.651.36
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