For Muslims throughout the world, the war in Iraq has set off a wave of anger, sadness, frustration and despair.
What it hasn't done, so far at least, is produce a flood of jihadist recruits willing to die for President Saddam Hussein's cause, or a backlash strong enough to topple Arab governments with close ties to the West, according to interviews conducted over the past week with Muslims around the world.
The televised daily scenes of civilian casualties, humiliated Iraqi prisoners of war and triumphant American warriors rolling through southern Iraq have left a bitter taste in the mouths of millions. But political Islam, a potent if divided force, appears torn between its fear and suspicion of the West and its long-standing hatred of Hussein, who is perceived as one of the most secular and totalitarian of Arab leaders.
"Muslims are depressed and angry, and many are praying not just for an end to the war but for America to be defeated," said Azzam Tamimi, director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought here. "But that doesn't mean they support the regime -- Islamists have always hated Saddam, although some of them may begin to see him as a hero because he is fighting the Americans."
From London to Cairo to Jakarta, these raw, divided emotions were on display this past week as Muslims sought to respond to the carnage of war. While some Muslims in the Middle East sought unsuccessfully to make their way to Baghdad to fight and die alongside their Iraqi brethren, the vast majority there and in Europe and Asia sat by helplessly.
Two decades ago, the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan inspired a generation of Islamic warriors -- trained and funded by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States -- to launch a jihad, or holy war. The Afghan mujaheddin brought about the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan. And led by Osama bin Laden, some veterans of that struggle participated in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States.
This time, no major government appears prepared to help a new generation of jihadists take on the West. Instead, government crackdowns following the Sept. 11 attacks have made it harder for radicals to preach, raise funds or recruit followers.
At the same time, the wave of popular opposition to the war outside of the United States and the huge antiwar protests of recent months have created new ties between Muslims and mainstream communities in Europe, and eased the Muslim sense of alienation.
"Despite language barriers and cultural barriers, people did come together and found they shared a huge common ground," said Anas Altikriti, 28, an Iraqi native who does volunteer work for the Muslim Association of Britain. "This was enormously positive for Muslims all over Europe, especially young people who otherwise might be extremely alienated."
Security officials in Britain, France and a host of other nations say they have seen no signs yet that the war has produced a new wave of recruits or activity on behalf of the al Qaeda terrorist network. But there is little doubt that the war has created new sympathy for the organization among Muslims. Ramazan Ucar, imam at the Centrum-Mosque in Hamburg, Germany, the city where some of the Sept. 11 attacks were planned, had publicly condemned the terror attacks. Now, he says, he feels differently.
"I prayed for the victims after the 11th of September," he said, " but today I would say if something like this attack happens again in the U.S.A., I would not pray for them."
Some of the more radical positions taken by Muslim clerics reflect internal struggles between rival Islamic groups. In Russia, for example, a top Muslim leader this week declared holy war against the United States, but was immediately rebuked by a rival Muslim cleric who urged Russia's 20 million Muslims to confine their opposition to prayer and charitable donations.
Still, many analysts expect a sharp increase in terrorism. A Western diplomat in Riyadh said popular anger and anti-American sentiment have raised the potential for terror attacks against Western targets in Saudi Arabia to a higher level than has been seen in "a long, long time." Others experts warn of attacks against pro-American leaders in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and Oman in response to what one radical here called "the treachery of the self-appointed rulers of the Arabian Peninsula."
In Jakarta, Robin Bush, director of the Islam and Civil Society program for the Asia Foundation in Jakarta, said: "The anger against the United States is very strong and is widespread across the board. The repercussions will be felt for a long time."
What follows are portraits from three capitals -- Cairo, London and Jakarta -- that reflect both the rising anger and limited actions that have so far marked political Islam's response to the war.
Correspondent Sharon LaFraniere in Moscow, staff writer Carol Morello in Riyadh, and special correspondents Caroline Huot in Paris, Alia Ibrahim in Beirut, and Souad Mekhennet and Shannon Smiley in Berlin contributed to this report.