Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Could she really be relieved? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I sometimes find it difficult to believe everything I read in the media, especially what is attributed to anonymous sources. One such example is recent newspaper reports on the wife of the al Qaeda leader, Saleh al Awfi, killed in clashes with Saudi security forces last week, in what was a great blow to domestic terrorism.

The Saudi media reported, or rather claimed, the wife reacted happily to news of his death and denounced him as an evil terrorist who society would be better without. I am doubtful she responded in this manner when she was by his side whilst on the run with him from the authorities before he went into hiding almost a year ago.

I would not be the least bit surprised if I were to find out al Awfi’s wife thought he was a brave warrior despite everyone else believing he was a criminal who murdered innocent civilians and met a fitting death. Isn’t it the case with most mothers, siblings, and spouses that the family link is unbreakable? No relatives can be expected to alter their feelings even if the object of their grief is as evil as al Awfi, Osama bin Laden’s representative in the Kingdom.

What matters most is not the family’s reaction but public opinion whose attitude is based on fact and not affection. So far, the public has repeatedly expressed it desire to see wanted terrorist captured or killed.

Fabricating the above quotes and attributing them to al Awfi’s wife is wholly unacceptable. However, if indeed the bereaved did express these views out of grief and pain, she should be commended for her courage.

In effect, the wife’s words are inconsequential as society recognizes terrorists have failed in their quest to promote their extremist ideology and justify their violent actions. In the beginning, a verbal war was fought as the militants and their supporters tried to garner popular support. They also tried and failed to turn the Kingdom’s citizens against their own security forces.

In the end, their downfall was caused by their despicable behavior. People saw pictures of the victims and were appalled; they watched as innocent victims were dragged through the streets, violently killed and their heads refrigerated. No one supports mass murder and carnage. It is of little or no significance what if the terrorists enjoy the support of their families or not.

Apologists are scarce in society; the majority applauds the courage of the security forces and recognizes their efforts in combating terrorism. Terrorists have already lost the war despite many more battles to be fought.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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