“Gaddafi’s forces have had the upper hand in the desert battle that has raged for more than a month.
“Rebels say this is because of black magic. They invoke Satan. `These are magic papers,’ said mobile phone dealer turned rebel Ashraf al Houmi, 25. The papers-185 pages of writing, symbols and numbers-were found near abandoned government tanks.
“`This is the Israeli Star of David and this is some of the Koran backwards. The Koran reversed is Satan,’ explained Khaled el Faitouri, 27. “`We know they can do black magic with these drawings.'”
Now I wouldn’t have bothered with this except for one thing: the amazing disconnect between being a mobile phone dealer and believing in this kind of thing. Possibly al-Houmi also repairs phones.
Westerners assume that technology and thinking precisely the way they do goes together. Not so. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini pioneered in using tape cassettes for spreading Islamist revolution. Back in 1979 that was the equivalent of using social media. Revolutionary Islamists have used the Internet far more effectively than democratic reformers in the Middle East. Technology does not necessarily mean moderation or democracy.