[Homestead] First self-cricism of Arab states

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Sun Sep 5 00:00:03 EDT 2004

This is without precedent in the lockstep Arab world.  I don't give it 
much credence---the flow of money to Al Aksa, Hamas, Hezbollah will go 
on unimpeded.  You cannot reverse the investment  of $70,000,000,000 
Saudi dollars and thirty years of preaching vitriolic hate for Israel 
and the West, with a fleeting sense of revulsion, quickly extinguished 
with the next newspaper headline advocating nuking Israel and 
handclapping over the next bombing of Israel buses, restaurants, a lot 
of it by brainwashed children.


 Sep 4, 2004
Russian School Siege Prompts Horrified Self-Criticism in Arab Media
By Maggie Michael
Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Muslims worldwide are the main perpetrators of 
terrorism, a humiliating and painful truth that must be acknowledged, a 
prominent Arab writer and television executive wrote Saturday, as Middle 
East media and officials expressed horror at the bloody rebel siege of a 
Russian school.

Unusually forthright self-criticism followed the end of the hostage 
crisis, along with warnings that such actions inflict more damage to the 
image of Islam than all its enemies could hope. Arab leaders and Muslim 
clerics denounced the school seizure as unjustifiable and expressed 
their sympathy.

Russian commandos stormed the school Friday in Beslan, Russia; it had 
been taken over by rebels demanding independence for Chechnya. Russian 
officials said Saturday that the death toll was in the hundreds - many 
of them children.

Images of terrified young survivors being carried from the scene aired 
repeatedly on Arab TV stations. Pictures of dead and wounded children 
ran on front pages of Arab newspapers Saturday.

"Holy warriors" from the Middle East long have supported fellow Muslims 
fighting in Chechnya, and Russian officials said nine or 10 Arabs were 
among militants killed.

"Our terrorist sons are an end-product of our corrupted culture," 
Abdulrahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya television wrote in 
his daily column published in the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. It 
ran under the headline, "The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are 

Al-Rashed ran through a list of recent attacks by Islamic extremist 
groups - in Russia, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen - many of which 
are influenced by the ideology of Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi-born leader 
of the al-Qaida terror network.

"Most perpetrators of suicide operations in buses, schools and 
residential buildings around the world for the past 10 years have been 
Muslims," he wrote. Muslims will be unable to cleanse their image unless 
"we admit the scandalous facts," rather than offer condemnations or 

"The picture is humiliating, painful and harsh for all of us," al-Rashed 

Contributors to Islamic Web sites known for their extremist content had 
mixed reactions on the hostage crisis, with some praising the 
separatists. Others wrote that people should wait until the militants 
had been identified before implicating Arabs in the drama.

Ahmed Bahgat, an Egyptian Islamist, wrote in his column in Egypt's 
leading pro-government newspaper, Al-Ahram, that hostage-takers in 
Russia as well as in Iraq are only harming Islam.

"If all the enemies of Islam united together and decided to harm it ... 
they wouldn't have ruined and harmed its image as much as the sons of 
Islam have done by their stupidity, miscalculations, and 
misunderstanding of the nature of this age," Bahgat wrote.

The horrifying images of the dead and wounded Russian students "showed 
Muslims as monsters who are fed by the blood of children and the pain of 
their families."

Mohammed Mahdi Akef, leader of Egypt's largest Islamic group, the 
outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, said in general, kidnappings may be 
justified, but killings are not. He said the school siege did not fit 
the Islamic concept of jihad, or holy war.

"What happened yesterday is not jihad because our Islam obligates us to 
respect the souls of human beings; it is not about taking them away," 
Akef told The Associated Press.

Ali Abdullah, a Bahraini scholar who follows the ultraconservative 
Salafi stream of Islam, condemned the school attack as "un-Islamic," but 
insisted Muslims weren't behind it.

"I have no doubt in my mind that this is the work of the Israelis who 
want to tarnish the image of Muslims and are working alongside Russians 
who have their own agenda against the Muslims in Chechnya," said Abdullah.

An editorial in the Saudi English-language Arab News put some blame for 
the bloody end to the school siege on Russian President Vladimir Putin, 
saying he couldn't afford to lose his "tough-man image." But it added 
that "the Chechens, with the choice of their targets, had put themselves 
in a position where no one would shed tears when the punishment came. 
They reached a new low when they chose toddlers as bargaining chips."

Heads of state from Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait and Yemen offered their 
sympathy Friday to Russian officials and to the families of people 
caught up in the hostage drama. A prominent Muslim cleric also denounced it.

"What is the guilt of those children? Why should they be responsible for 
your conflict with the government?" Egypt's top Muslim cleric, Grand 
Sheik Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, was quoted as saying during a Friday 
sermon in Banha, 30 miles north of Cairo.

"You are taking Islam as a cover and it is a deceptive cover; those who 
carry out the kidnappings are criminals, not Muslims," Tantawi, who 
heads Al-Azhar University, the highest authority in the Sunni Islamic 
world, was quoted by Egypt's Middle East News agency as saying.


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