News that Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has been killed in a drone strike reminds me of the praise heaped upon him by the New York Times following the 9/11 attacks when they described him as “a new generation of Muslim leader”:
Imam Anwar Al-Awlaki, spiritual leader at the Dar al-Hijra mosque in Virginia, one of the nation’s largest, which draws about 3,000 worshipers for communal prayers each Friday, said: ”In the past we were oblivious. We didn’t really care much because we never expected things to happen. Now I think things are different. What we might have tolerated in the past, we won’t tolerate any more.”
”There were some statements that were inflammatory, and were considered just talk, but now we realize that talk can be taken seriously and acted upon in a violent radical way,” said Mr. Al-Awlaki, who at 30 is held up as a new generation of Muslim leader capable of merging East and West: born in New Mexico to parents from Yemen, who studied Islam in Yemen and civil engineering at Colorado State University.
CNN is still following suit this morning, calling Awlaki an “all-American boy”. Not kidding.