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Neither Bin Laden Nor Ahmadinejad | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A number of people rushed to utilise excerpts of my previous article entitled ‘Electing Obama is Not Enough’ in an attempt to give the impression that I am instigating the new US administration against Muslims.

The reason is because I mentioned the acts carried out by President Obama so far and the speeches in which he stated that he is not an adversary to Muslims [and this was evident in his efforts of] releasing Guantanamo detainees and banning the military trials, and other actions to communicate positively with the Islamic world.

In fact, these readers launched an important battle against my article and there are great differences in opinion. The first point of contention is the basic question of how to define Muslims. These readers sum up Muslims by referring to Al Qaeda and the extremist Ahmadinejad government [in Iran] and the like. Do they represent one billion Muslims? Absolutely not, as ordinary Muslims consider Al Qaeda their biggest threat and most of the successes against Al Qaeda have resulted from rejecting these extremists and the confrontation against them in all parts of the Islamic world. Most of the victims of extremist Islamist groups, to which Obama referred, are not Europeans but in fact Muslims from Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

It is the same for the extremist ideology of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has launched battles between different Islamic factions more than he has harmed the West. These are the problems that President Obama referred to when he said in his speech that his election by the American people, as Barack Hussein Obama, is not enough to deal with the problem at hand.

The belief that Obama’s connections to Islam would reassure the extremists and end the confrontation is naïve and demonstrates lack of knowledge of the situation of the Islamic world. Muslims are neither Bin Laden nor Ahmadinejad, and there can be no confusion between the two. Even before Obama came along, we ourselves needed to rescue Muslims from extremist Muslims. Their aggressiveness and their ideology has harmed Islam and Muslims, and it makes no sense whatsoever to believe that by electing a US president who has Muslim roots, whose father was called Hussein, this would solve the problem.

Today, Obama is disappointed after Iran responded negatively, both verbally and practically, to all his positive efforts towards the Islamic world, mainly Iran, which he has treated well. Iran responded by increasing uranium enrichment, challenging him by firing long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear heads in the near future and intensifying its instigative activities in the region.

Al Qaeda did worse by carrying out terrorist attacks despite that Obama has shut down Guantanamo and banned the military trials of Al Qaeda suspects.

Those who objected to what I wrote want to summarize the Islamic world by referring to two people: Osama Bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and this is completely rejected by most of the Islamic world, including many Iranians who consider the nuclear programme a political, economic and moral catastrophe for their country.

I believe, and I hope that I am wrong, that Obama will end up arriving at the same conclusion as the former administration; there can be no negotiating with terrorists or a political regime whose only agenda is to impose its authority upon others and to establish a system that dictates others.

There are disputes that can be settled through coordinating with opposition groups or rebellious governments, but I wonder how reconciliation will be possible in the cases of Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and Iran’s Ahmadinejad without offering even more dangerous concessions than before.

With its destructionist mentality, Al Qaeda wants to destroy the world believing that this is the way to paradise. As for Ahmadinejad’s Iran, it wants the awaited Mehdi to appear during its comprehensive war against the infidels who oppose it intellectually and politically. Can any political theorist suggest a practical solution that satisfies both Al Qaeda and the Iranian government?