A number of specialists on Islam (especially Olivier Roy and Gilles Kepel) have been arguing for some time that militant Islam peaked in the 1980s and has been in steady decline. Yes, and 9/11 was but a "provocation" that confirmed its "waning."
Evidence to the contrary comes from almost everywhere all the time (with the single and important exception of Iran), but here is one shard that is particularly compelling: the voters in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province are getting the full Shar'i dosage that they asked for when they voted what the Times of London calls a "radical pro-Taleban government" into power last year: the provincial administration has
imposed a number of measures, including a ban on playing music on buses. It is also mandatory for public transport to stop during prayer time. Several cinemas have been closed, having been accused of on "encouraging obscenity" and the display of pictures of female artists on billboards outside theatres has been banned. This month schools were told to replace a uniform of shirt and trousers with the traditional dress of shalwar-kameez. Female students have to wear a veil.
(May 28, 2003)