Zarqawi’s Home Town

Eli Lake of the New York Sun reports from Zarqa, Jordan, Zarqawi’s home town:

A visit to the mosque that terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi attended as a child suggests that the Al Qaeda figure made a big mistake in plotting Amman’s triple bombings of 11/9.

The sermon Friday at the al-Falah mosque from Imam Mustafa Suleiman was, in his words, about “the criminality of the attacks and how they were not in keeping with Islam.”

The explosions Wednesday in three downtown hotels in the Jordanian capital changed this country in many ways, but perhaps most significant is that it has unified a nation against the Jordanian born Mr. al-Zarqawi. In the past, Jordanians have shown some sympathy for his activities in Iraq.

Mr. Suleiman said Mr. al-Zarqawi’s family, whose surname is Khaleylah, still attends his mosque, and that they have all but disowned him. “Everyone here is ashamed of him, even his family,” the imam said.*** Mr. Suleiman described Mr. al-Zarqawi as a “street kid” who was “always getting into trouble” as a teenager. “One time he was sent to jail and he was only released when his family pleaded with King Hussein’s office to spare his life. I wish the king had not shown mercy then,” the imam said.

The editor of the Jordanian daily newspaper Al-Ghad, Ayman Safadi, said yesterday, “We have tolerated the voices here who justify and apologize for the killing in Iraq. But this era has ended.”

In Mr. al-Zarqawi’s old neighborhood, Mr. Suleiman concurred. “My speech this week was to damn the terrorists and my speech next week will be damn the terrorists. I will keep saying this until it stops.”

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, in Amman, declined to blame the Jordan bombings on President Bush. Given the borderline insanity that now characterizes most of her party, I guess that’s something to be grateful for.

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