We all worry about the Islamists. Key to many Islamist movements is the mosque: a place to meet, to talk, and, in some cases, to plot and to train. Thomas Friedman, writing in the New York Times, notes this and observes a new phenomenon in Iran: the virtual mosque in which moderate Muslims are meeting:
"What is fascinating to me is the degree to which in Iran today — and in Lebanon — the more secular forces of moderation have used technologies like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, blogging and text-messaging as their virtual mosque, as the place they can now gather, mobilize, plan, inform and energize their supporters, outside the grip of the state.
For the first time, the moderates, who were always stranded between authoritarian regimes that had all the powers of the state and Islamists who had all the powers of the mosque, now have their own place to come together and project power: the network. The Times reported that Moussavi’s fan group on Facebook alone has grown to more than 50,000 members. That’s surely more than any mosque could hold — which is why the government is now trying to block these sites."
I am not yet a Twit, Face, Flick or Bebo. Maybe twomorrow I should get with the programme!