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Our Stance Towards Terrorism Has Not Changed - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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“You know that the there is only one Sharia and one religion among us so why stand by the atheists? You experience injustice throughout the day and night and God appointed you to take part in Jihad as it says in the Quran, “Fight all infidels alike.” God did not excuse any of you from joining the struggle except the weak, the sick, those who cannot afford to and those who have just reasons to stay behind.”

This extract has not been taken from a sermon of some current extremist Islamic movement but was taken from the old writings of the Kharijites, the extremists whom the Muslims had fought 1400 years ago and are still being fought today.

“In Britain, one can find a vast Islamic community that suffers internally because of battles between Muslims who fight over mosques. Each of these parties instigate the hosting government and there is no doubt that this conflict reflects badly upon themselves and, what we fear the most, upon the rest of the Muslim community that has no association with them and avoids completely the fanaticism adopted by some even though Islam is a moderate religion.”

This extract has been taken from an article that I had written eleven years ago that opposes terrorism and extremism. I am quoting this article in response to accusations that my stance is of a temporary nature that has come about only as a result of the current circumstances in Iraq and Saudi Arabia or due to the 9/11 attacks.

I had written similar articles when there was no severe political viewpoint against Bin Laden who was yet to broadcast any of his video recordings through satellite news channels and before the creation of Al-Qaeda. At that point, not only were Americans and most Arabs tolerant of these extremist cells, but would even incorporate them into politics and hosted their leaders in London, Washington and Berlin.

Countering terrorism in previous articles was not part of a strategic plan, but was merely an expression of an ethical position that abhors terrorism and the murdering of innocents under any circumstances. This was a personal concern due to indications of the spreading of this hazard that is cloaked in religious allegations that distort the image of Islam and Muslims all over the world, especially, at that time, in Algeria. I wrote this article whilst many others would seek to find nonsensical excuses for anyone who raises the Holy Quran in the air, despite the sins that he commits. Such people believed that a foreign conspiracy existed that aims at distorting the image of Jihad. The rest is history as we have all witnessed the bombings that have taken place in North America and that have extended to Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other Muslim countries.

I simply write this article in response to those who claim that our editorials these days are late reactions and articles of self-defense that have come about only as a result of our own suffering as we have also become the targets of terrorist organizations. We have not only been accused of remaining silent, but also siding with extremists and of sharing similar ideas and the same fate as them. These accusations are untrue in all aspects. A change in stances may be accepted concerning unpredictable political circumstances, however, not concerning issues such as terrorism and extremism.

Indeed many people support the calls made by terrorists who are in distant countries claiming to be victims of persecution and injustice. However, even these groups of writers have corrected their positions immediately as soon as they have realized a truth that could no longer be concealed. We should be thankful of the rational and opposing stance rather than defaming them. If there is one position to which we should all stand united, it is that against terrorism no matter how strong its accompanying excuses are.

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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