A quick look at suggested items to accelerate the erosion of Salafi support in the Middle East.
Embrace rather than subjugate the greater Muslim community into categories of”pro” and “anti;” the movement against jihad is tender and does not have a defined leadership or charter. By dismissing groups as non-aligned they will not be given the necessary opportunity to undergo a transformation or “change of heart.”
Work with/engage Muslim intellectual institutions in the Middle East which focus on jihadi research. Providing resources and other materials may accelerate their ability to search for solutions in combating the general Salafi movement.
The aligned front or anti-terror front may sanction and support states in Islamic reforms and renewal. “Only a modern, reformed Islam can provide sufficient normative appeal to mobilize broad Muslim constituencies against religious extremism, for modern accountable governance, and for better understanding with the West. The development of such movements in the Muslim world is the terrorists’ biggest fear and vulnerability.
A renewal movement that addresses the Muslim world’s major problems—using familiar language, historical references, and religious values, and providing a hopeful alternative to al Qaeda’s message of violence and self-destruction—will discredit not only Osama bin Laden and his associates but the Salafi jihadist ideology as a whole.” (American Foreign Policy and Islamic Renewal, Abdeslam M. Maghraoui. Connections)
Public relations campaigns directed at Muslim communities in Western communities which are endorsed, in name, by Islamic institutions offer a superior approach to display the physical destruction of Salafi organizations, such as al-Qaeda, on Muslims.
Electronic and print media along with other information technologies can be used to expose violence against Muslims through terrorism. Through this backdoor strategy policy makers and security apparatuses will be able to leverage effective pressure on community members and leaders thus breaking the ideological arguments of Salafi groups.
Domestically Salafi movements need to be thoroughly explained and understood, specifically that they are on the periphery in nearly all Muslim countries and act against the interests of the majority of states and peoples in the Middle East. Defining that the confrontation is not against Islam but against an extreme element will diminish the ability for al-Qaeda like groups to leverage off of Western aims to confront Islam itself.
Recognize that this is an organic process which will implode if perceived to be navigated by the West.
Benchmarks in the deterioration of popular support of al-Qaeda will become apparent by analyzing statements issued by the group themselves. In noting certain concerns that are expressed by the organization we may monitor their condition and weigh progress or failure in obtaining the goals against the movement.