Soumayya Ghannoushi wrote an excellent article in Aljazeera titled Al-Qaida: Wrong answers to real problems. I particularly like her observation, found in the following excerpt, that the different brands of extremism both here and over there tend to feed each other.
The terrible irony is that Muslims currently find themselves helplessly trapped between two fundamentalisms, between Bush's hammer and Bin Laden's anvil, hostages to an extreme right wing American administration, aggressively seeking to impose its expansionist and hegemonic will over the region at gunpoint, and to a cluster of violent, wild fringe groups, lacking in political experience or sound religious understanding.
'Us' and 'them'
Although the two claim to be combating each other, the reality is that they are working in unison, one providing the justifications the other desperately needs for its fanaticism, ferocity and savagery. No wonder, it didn't take the neo-conservative world supremacists long to spot the immense opportunities 11 September handed them. Their puritanical missionary belief in being God's instruments on earth and grand imperial ambitions could now be realised through shameless emotional blackmail and bogus moral claims. The two share a shallow, myopic, dualistic conception of the world populated by 'us' and 'them' in Bush's language, 'believers' and 'non-believers' in Bin Laden's. Al-Zarqawi and his fellows then brandish the sword of excommunication (takfir) against the Muslim body itself in an endless orgy of maiming and mutilation.